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Low on cash, Lanka slash budget for Oz tour

cricket Updated: Jun 27, 2011 01:20 IST

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Sri Lanka's cash-strapped cricket administration has slashed the budget for Australia's tour, the island's sports minister said on Sunday.

He, however, stressed that security would not be compromised.

Australia are due to play three Tests, five One-day matches and two Twenty20 games during their August 6 to September 20 tour of Sri Lanka.

"We are taking austerity measures because we can't even recover the monies we are spending," minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said.

"Lots of frills like distributing hundreds of free tickets and banquet meals for invitees will be cut," Aluthgamage said.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had budgeted 300 million rupees (Rs12.3 crore) but the projected income was a "dismal" 150 million rupees (Rs6.1 crore).

Sri Lanka now hopes to spend about 100 million rupees (Rs4.1 crore) instead on the tour, said the minister, who has moved to overhaul the cricket administration amid allegations of massive corruption and mismanagement.

Security will not be compromised, he said, after ordering the SLC to trim the 50-million-rupee (Rs2 crore) security bill to just nine million rupees (Rs37 lakh).http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/27_06_pg18c.jpg

Despite ending a decades-long ethnic conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009, Sri Lanka maintain tight security for visiting teams that includes commandos from the military and private security guards.

No war now
"There is no war now, and I think there is enough officers in the military and police that could assure us very good security, at a fraction of the cost," he said.

The newly-built Pallakele International Stadium in the central town of Kandy will host the Twenty20 games as well as the opening one-dayer and the second Test match.

Another new cricket facility in the southern town of Hambantota will host two one-day games. Both venues were built for the 2011 World Cup.

The cost of constructing these stadia left the Sri Lankan board a debt of $23 million (Rs100 crore). The board pledged the newly-built stadia plus the income from upcoming tours as collateral to raise funds to pay for the World Cup.