Vol. 5 Num 215 Fri. December 31, 2004  

SL stranded for a day

Sri Lanka's cricketers face another anxious day's wait before returning home after their tour of New Zealand was postponed.

The players are desperate to get home as quickly as possible but have been left stranded in Auckland because there are no available flights until Friday.

"Everyone is very eager to get back home, we all want to get back as soon as possible," Sri Lanka manager Brendon Kuruppu told Reuters by telephone on Thursday.

"There are no flights until tomorrow so we won't get home until Saturday but that's not really a worry, we're just relieved that we're going home at all."

Sri Lanka's players were clea- red to return home after the Inter-national Cricket Council (ICC) agreed to postpone the tour following the devastating tsunami in Asia.

"The general feeling with everyone is that this was the right thing to do. Cricket is just not important at the moment," Kuruppu said.

"No-one has been thinking about cricket. The players have just been staying in their hotel rooms watching everything on television and trying to phone home to get information."

Sri Lanka played New Zealand in the first of five scheduled one-day international matches last Sunday, which was won by the hosts by seven wickets.

New Zealand cricket officials said they fully supported Sri Lanka's decision to return home.

"As the magnitude of the recent events in Sri Lanka have unfolded it has become more difficult for the Sri Lankan team to remain in New Zealand," chief executive Martin Snedden said in a statement.

"We can understand their decision as the players are expected to play a meaningful role back home with the rest of the people in Sri Lanka."

The decision to postpone the tour will have major financial implications for both the Sri Lankan and New Zealand cricket boards although they will try and recoup some of their losses by rearranging another tour in the future.

"I'm sure they'll sit down later on and try to sort out another tour but this is just not important right at the moment," Kuruppu said.