Taking a leaf out of the Board of Control for Cricket in India book, Sri Lanka Cricket on Wednesday (May 18) confirmed the appointment of Roy Dias, the former skipper, as coach of the national Under-19 team. The executive committee of the SLC also named Avishka Gunawardene, the former left-hand opening batsman, as the coach of the Sri Lanka A team.
The BCCI had last year roped in Rahul Dravid as the coach of both the India A and Under-19 teams, helping the A side to string of positive results at home against Australia A, South Africa A and Bangladesh A, and marshalling the Under-19 team to the final of the World Cup, apart from winning tournaments in Kolkata and Colombo.
Dias, 63, has already been coach of the Sri Lankan national team, apart from coaching the Nepal and Malaysian national sides. His immediate assignments are the upcoming Under-19 tours of England and South Africa as Sri Lanka turn their focus to youth cricket in a bid to plug the gaping holes stemming from the retirement in recent times of some of their greatest cricketers including Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, the former skippers.
Sri Lanka’s maiden Test, against England in February 1982, was the first of Dias’s 20 Test matches. He also played 58 One-Day Internationals.
Gunawardene, a hard-hitting batsman in the Sanath Jayasuriya mould, was more of a limited-overs specialist, playing 61 ODIs as opposed to just six Tests. Having just completed a stint as assistant coach of the Sri Lanka Under-19 team, he will take charge of the A team ahead of the tour of England.
Gunawardene, 38, is a member of the SLC coaching panel and was also head coach of SSC, Sri Lanka’s premier club, for nine successive seasons.