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England blame crowded calendar for rain-hit ties

Updated October 18, 2018

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England cricket captain Eoin Morgan (R) teammate Ben Stokes (L) celebrates after victory in the third one day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and England at the Pallekele International Cricket stadium in Pallekele on October 17, 2018. — AFP
England cricket captain Eoin Morgan (R) teammate Ben Stokes (L) celebrates after victory in the third one day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and England at the Pallekele International Cricket stadium in Pallekele on October 17, 2018. — AFP

PALLEKELE: England on Wednesday blamed the crowded international cricket calendar for its decision to tour Sri Lanka during the rainy season as bad weather hit the third straight One-day International.

England said the number of tours left it no ‘wriggle room’ in organising a tour of the island currently in the grip of inter-monsoonal storms. Heavy rain also hit Wednesday’s game here in Pallekele.

England won the rain-disrupted second ODI in Dambulla on net run-rate and the first game, also played in Dambulla, was abandoned after just 15 overs.

A warm-up match against the Sri Lanka Cricket XI side on Oct 6 was also abandoned and England players and fans have become increasingly frustrated by rain interruptions during the two month tour.

“In respect of touring Sri Lanka at this time of year: The Future Tours Programme is congested involving 13 boards whose schedules all interconnect, so there are unfortunately a number of tours that have to take place outside prime match-staging periods,” England Cricket wrote on its Twitter page.

It added that after hosting England, Sri Lanka spend coming months touring New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

“They play their first match in New Zealand on Dec 8, which left very little wriggle room,” it said.

The final Sri Lanka-England Test ends on Nov 27.

Weather permitting after the one-day games, England will play a Twenty20 International and three Tests against Sri Lanka on the tour.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2018