Heavy rain forces WC warm-up matches out of Pallekele

Bangalore: Persistent rain has forced the International Cricket Council (ICC) to relocate two World Cup warm-up matches from Pallekele in Sri Lanka.

The ICC is yet to name the new venues for the matches -- Sri Lanka v Netherlands on February 12 and Netherlands v Kenya matches on February 15.

The decision was taken by local and ICC officials following a recommendation by ICC pitch consultant Andy Atkinson after he inspected the venue on Wednesday.

"The decision to switch the warm-up matches away from Pallekele is common sense and is one that is fully supported by all stakeholders as it will allow the groundstaff the time they need, following those recent heavy rains, to produce excellent pitches for the tournament matches that will take place there," Tournament Director Ratnakar Shetty said in a statement.

Pallekele will host three matches in the World Cup, starting with the clash between New Zealand and Pakistan on March 8, followed by Sri Lanka`s match-up with Zimbabwe on March 10 and concluding with the Pakistan v Zimbabwe fixture on March 12.