Sri Lanka Cricket wants to build a new stadium in the district of Colombo ©Getty Images

Sri Lanka Cricket and the national Government have announced plans to build a new 40,000-seat cricket stadium in Homagama, a town near the capital Colombo.

The venue's initial capacity of 40,000 will be expanded to 60,000 in the second phase of the project and it would be the biggest ground in the country.

It will be located near Colombo's 35,000-seater R Premadasa Stadium, which is currently the largest stadium in Sri Lanka.

The new stadium is expected to take three years to build, with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Shammi Silva saying it will cost around $30 million (£24.7 million/€27.7 million).

Floodlights will be installed so day-night matches can be held, although a feasibility study is yet to take place.

SLC chief executive Ashley de Silva told ESPNCricInfo that the body was "looking at it very positively for now and we have got the process started", but also revealed that a feasibility study on a new venue in Jaffna - announced in 2017 - has still not been completed.

The announcement has received a mixed response, with many surprised at the proposal and former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene suggesting in a series of tweets that a new stadium is not needed.

SLC said in a statement: "In view of the increasing demand for the game and especially due to the popularity of the short formats of the game, the need has arisen to cater to large crowds with easy access in an urban environment. 

"It should also be noted that ICC [International Cricket Council] has now afforded the opportunity for member countries to express the Interest in staging the World Cup series in the respective countries for which it is expected to have at least five international level cricket stadiums in the country with a seating capacity of around 25,000 – 40,000.

"It is undoubted that Cricketing events of such magnitude will bring massive foreign currency inflow to the Country which is an essential fact in today’s economy standpoint. 

"Further, it is important to note that Sri Lanka Cricket has also expressed interest in the ICC’s request to host two ICC World Cup events which are scheduled to be held in the year 2023 to 2031.

"Taking all aspects into consideration and after evaluating the completion of a comprehensive study on the project’s operational aspect and its financial feasibility, the Executive Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket will decide on how to proceed with investing in this project as the sole investor."

Sri Lanka has co-hosted the ICC Cricket World Cup twice - in 1996 with Pakistan and India and 2011 with Bangladesh and India.

The nation also hosted the both the men's and women's T20 World Cups in 2012, using three stadiums.