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Dassanayake hails Nepali talent in Sri Lankan interview

National team coach Pubudu Dassanayake is an adorable man and the cricket fans in Nepal have already proved that. But Nepal is not the only stop for the former Sri Lankan wicket keeper and batsman. 

 

Dassanayake – who is currently in his homeland Sri Lanka for a 15-day tour with national cricket team – was interviewed by www.mirrorsports.lk where he talked about his past and present experience and the future of Nepali cricket. Here is an excised part of the interview taken by Navodya Wijewickrama 

 

For his current stay in Sri Lanka

 

“It’s always nice to come back to my home country. My wife and my kids are in Canada, so I don’t get much opportunity to bring them. Coaching is what brings me here and I make full use of the opportunities I get to meet with friends and visit some places.”

 

Life and times with the Associate Teams

 

The former Lankan Test player brings a wealth of experience to Nepal after his time as head coach of Canada and believes he can uplift Nepalese cricket to the same level as Ireland and Netherlands – who have been qualifying regularly to the World Cups. 

 

“I was the coach of Canada for four years. I learnt a lot during that time. It gave me an insight as to what kind of an environment there is in the associate nations and their standards. I have travelled to every associate country and played them. So I have a very good understanding as to how much effort the boys need to put in order to achieve those heights.” 

 

Challenges are a part of coaching, especially with the associate teams. Having been part of the coaching set-up of an associate member team like Canada, Dassanayake is aware of the challenges that come with the job. 

 

“I am aware of the challenges. The main challenge is the lack of infrastructure and facilities but until they get to a certain level it is all about giving all you have, getting the wins and proving themselves. There is no choice actually we have to work within the frame.”

 

Even with the difficulties faced by him and the team, during the past two years they have produced consistent performances which have helped them to reach ICC Division 2 from Division 4 and also qualify twice for the Twenty20 World Cup qualifier.

 

Dassanayake believes that his experience is paying dividends with the recent run of good form and hopes to strengthen that position at their next T20 qualifier, in November this year. When it comes to teams like Canada most players have migrated from the sub continent, and have prior first class cricket experience.

 

“Yes, that is the backbone of cricket in Canada. A lot of players are from South Asia, so that cricket craziness is there in Canada as well as in Nepal. But when it comes to Nepal all the players are home-grown. People would think that the talent is less compared to other associate nations but there is no shortage of talent. The players are a hard working unit and unlike Canada since they are from the same country the team spirit is that much more.” 

 

Future of Nepal Cricket

Dassanayaka believes that they have a steady stream of talent coming through from the U19 age group, who have experience playing in the U19 World Cups against the full member teams. He is confident that along with the current players, these rough diamonds need a bit of polishing and guidance to excel on the international stage.

 

The former Sri Lanka wicket-keeper is excited about the talent in the squad and their hunger to win. “There are countries like Nepal and Afghanistan who have the potential to come to the top. I will give my best for them to achieve that target. We have a good squad. But they need opportunities. They need to play against full member teams, without that, they cannot come up. The players need that exposure, so tours like these with the Sri Lanka U23 team will greatly benefit the boys. If we finish in the top six in the qualifiers we will get ODI status and with a bit more effort World Cup qualification won’t be too far away. ” 

 

“The England Cricket Board supports Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands. Like that we as the associate nations from South Asia need the help of neighbouring full member teams in taking that next step.”  

 

Asked about a return home

 

“Well it all depends. My career will be coaching and I am enjoying my stint with the Nepalese team. If I get an opportunity to give my services back to the country I’ll be very happy.”

 

For Full Interview go to: 

http://sports.dailymirror.lk/2013/08/13/exclusive-world-cup-qualification-is-the-ambition-pubudu-dassanayaka/

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