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Last updated: 22 October, 2011 - Published 15:48 GMT
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'No coverage' to Sri Lanka cricket fans

Kumar Sangakkara (file photo)
Kumar Sangakkara's double century on Sunday in Abu Dhabi prevented Pakistan securing a win at the first Test

The Carlton Television Network (CSN) that has secured the rights to telecast the series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka currently being played in Abu Dhabi has denied concerns it lacks a proper coverage.

Nishantha Ranatunga, the CEO of CSN told BBC Sandeshaya that it shares the coverage with other TV channels though it has secured exclusive rights.

“I think it is wrong information that you have received,” he said of the reports that many fans are deprived of watching cricket.

But cricket fans told the BBC’s Azzam Ameen in Colombo that they wondered why there was no television coverage of the current series.

“Cricket is the only thing we enjoy watching, now we can't see that because I don’t get the new channel,” said Nalaka Perera, a garment worker from Nugegoda.

'No complaints'

Mohamed Silmi, in Mavanella, agrees.

“After three days I got to know from a friend it is showed in a different channel, then I got the channel tuned but its not clear like the previous one,” he said.

Nishantha Ranatunga
The CEO of the CSN says he doesn't know whether the president's son owns the channel

Ranjith Kapuge, a fan in Deniyaya, Matara, said: “Pease get the match to a channel we can watch. It is a shame that I couldn’t watch Sanga batting today.”

The first Test match ended in a draw on Sunday as Kumar Sangakkara and Prasanna Jayawardene batted six hours on the final day defying aggressive Pakistan bowlers.

Nishantha Ranatunga, the immediate past secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket and the brother of World Cup winning captain Arjuna, says CSN has not received any such complaints.

“We have not received any complaints but we will help tuning the channel if we are informed,” said Mr Ranatunga.

Rupavahini 'will be bankrupt'

It is the first time the CSN was granted the television rights for an international cricket series.

 Pease get the match to a channel we can watch. It is a shame that I couldn’t watch Sanga batting today
Ranjith Kapuge, a fan in Deniyaya

Media reports say that President Mahinda Rajapaksa's second son, Yoshitha, an officer of Sri Lanka navy, is the owner of the channel but its CEO denies any knowledge of it.

“I don't know about it. Anybody can approach the registrar of companies and find out the names of the owners,” was the response by the CEO of the Sri Lanka’s first ever private sports channel.

Meanwhile, the state run Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) has warned that it will be bankrupt if the national channel doesn’t get rights to cover Sri Lanka’s future cricket tours.

An official who wished be anonymous told the BBC that the cricket was the major income for the national television which is now taken by a private channel.

The cabinet of ministers earlier this year decided to offer sports coverage only to state media networks, effectively blocking competition from private channels.

The cabinet, however, added that channels "that are dedicated to sports," will also be offered broadcasting rights.

Sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told the journalists that he supported the cabinet paper as he has "always stressed the need for a separate sports channel."

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