The Men behind the Transformation of Sri Lanka’s Cricket Team

Rohit Pawar in Cricket Age, 23 February 2019 …***

In South Africa, Sri Lanka has created history by becoming the first even Asian team to conquer the frontier! Not even termed underdogs, Sri Lanka’s relatively inexperienced side pulled off a miracle and outplayed mighty South Africa on their own soil.

As entire cricket fraternity is showering praise on the historical achievement, Cricket Age focused on those individuals, who transformed the team with their vision, commitment and courageous decisions.

Harin Fernando Ashantha De Mel

Harin Fernando: In just two months, he has become the most popular and most visionary Sports Minister in Sri Lanka’s history! A young and dynamic Sports Minister, he has transformed Sri Lanka Cricket and has given a hope for many good things to come! Sri Lanka National Team was down and out, was divided in factions, as allrounder Thisara Perera’s leaked letter suggested. But, instead of being passive, as his predecessor used to do in tough times, he took immediate action. He flied (sic) to Australia at his own expenses and sorted out differences. In Sri Lanka, he met all the senior players and [attempted to] iron out their clashes. He created an environment for the players to focus on their game and play as a team, for their country! When Chief selector Asantha De Mel and his colleagues dropped non-performing Dinesh Chandimal and appointed Dimuth Karunaratne as captain, he backed them!  Most importantly, he took a courageous decision to remove Chandika Hathurusingha as one of the selectors and it immediately paid off as Kusal Perera, whom the millions paid coach never considered a test batsman, played the greatest innings of all time! Mind you, he did all these single-handedly, as there was no functioning cricket board at that moment!

Asantha De Mel: He is bold and courageous as chairman of selectors! A no-nonsense person, he immediately cut the wings of Dinesh Chandimal by removing him and appointed Dimuth Karunaratne as test captain, that too in most difficult overseas tour. Not only this, he brought [in] as many as four debutants for the South Africa tests and gave preference to those fringe players, who were dominating domestic cricket. The courageous decision paid off big time, as those debutants Lasith Embuldenia and Oshada Fernando turned out as match winners on South African soil! For the upcoming ODI series as well, he has selected young prodigies like Avishka Fernando, Kamindu Mendis! Before Asantha De Mel, millions paid coach Chandika Hathurasingha was selecting only his preferred tried and tested players, but the chairman of selectors has now completely changed the scenario.

Michael De Zoysa: The Selectors were recommended by the cricket committee headed by Michael de Zoysa, who also recommended [the removal of] coach Chandika Hathurasingha from selecting duties. Moreover, the Michael De Zoysa Committee recommended Steve Rixon as Fielding Coach and after a long time Sri Lanka’s fielding was as per with international standard against South Africa. It’s unfortunate that he and his committee was removed, but Sports Minister need to keep Michael De Zoysa in his scheme of things, as he could be a good edition in his mission to bring Sri Lanka Cricket back on track.

Samantha Dodanwela and Shane Fernando: Under the tournament committee, they organized the best domestic season in Sri Lanka cricket history. Starting with [an] U23 tournament, they successfully conducted four day tournament and right now the t20 tournament is currently underway successfully. All the players, who have been included for the South Africa tour in all three formats: Oshada Fernando, Mohammed Shiraz, Lasith Embuldenia, Kamindu Mendis, Avishka Fernando, Angelo Perera have shone big time in these tournaments.

Avishka Gunawardena: The man who has given youngsters like Kusal Mendis, Dananjaya De Silva, Vishwa Fernando, Lasith Embuldenia, Kasun Rajitha to the national side. As A Team Coach, Avishka’s contribution is nothing less than a miracle. He is constantly feeding young talents to Sri Lanka National side. He has worked closely with Lasith Embuldenia since his school day’s at Royal College [and] against South Africa the entire cricket world witnessed the result! For the ODI series too, his young brigade of Avishka Fernando and Kamindu Mendis is ready to shine at global stage!

Chaminda Vaas: The most iconic fast bowler in Sri Lanka cricket history, Chaminda Vaas was instrumental in shaping Vishwa Fernando. When he was with the national team as bowling coach between 2013 to 2015, he took Vishwa Fernando to Dubai and trained. Later, in the emerging fast bowling squad, he once again fast tracked Vishwa’s talent and brought him to the next level. After the South Africa series, Now Vishwa has become the talk of the town.

Asantha De Mel Avishka Gunawardana Chaminda Vaas Harin FernandoMichael De Zoysa

A NOTE:  Rumesh Ratnayake is the Bowling Coach on tour and besides Steve Rixon as Fielding Coach, the support staff include John Lewes (ex-Durham) as Batting Coach and Nick Lee as trainer.

A FURTHER NOTE: It manifest that Krishnamurthy of CRICKET AGE pursues a muckraking campaign which could conceivably be one directed by his ethnicity . Powar is a contrast ….but needs to polish up his syntax and English grammar.


Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, education, governance, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, performance, power politics, self-reflexivity, unusual people

4 responses to “The Men behind the Transformation of Sri Lanka’s Cricket Team

  1. Shereen Hussain

    It appears to be a success story Hope it continues I guess non interference politically helps Well done Kusal should not have aired his personal views after the match He should be very sternly told.

    • SHEREEN, I am not aware of the “personal views” you are referring to and which cricketer? …. and as it happens the subsequent victory at PORT ELIZABETH was/is very mucha team effort ….while tha rticles by ANDREW FIDEL FERNANDO in ESPNcricinfo and REX CLEMENTINE is the ISLSND newpaper reveal the role of Captain// Vice Captain and the coaching team in trransformign the attitude of the players. ALL THAT paid off. PS I speak here as a Galle boy who was born in PDELAR STREET.

  2. P. Sereinhe

    If he is psychologically an expressive person, this is natural to him. These honest remarks were true after all as they seemed to be accepted by the team who cheered him on. He should be encouraged to play the game and not demoralised by negative comments.

  3. Pingback: Premature Thoughts on Sri Lanka’s World Cup Squad: The Fifteeen | Critiquing Cricket

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