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Ratnayake appointed assistant coach

CRICKET: Sri Lanka Cricket yesterday confirmed the appointment of Rumesh Ratnayake the former Sri Lanka fast bowler as their assistant coach for a period of four years.

Ratnayake will succeed the present assistant coach Trevor Penny whose contract with the Sri Lanka team expires at the end of August. Sri Lanka Cricket Interim Committee chairman Jayantha Dharmadasa said that they are also looking at the possibilities of getting the services of Ratnayake for the forthcoming home series against Bangladesh.

However getting the services of Rumesh Ratnayake for the Bangladesh series is in the balance as currently he has a commitment with the Asian Cricket Council (ACC). The secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket K. Mathivanan said that they would definitely get a confirmation on Ratnayake's availability during the first week of June.

Mathivanan said that getting the services of Ratnayake is a tremendous boost which will help Sri Lanka to maintain their high standards on the field following their successful campaign at the recent International Cricket Council World Cup (ICC) in the West Indies where they emerged runners up to Australia.

Mathivanan said that their main task is to get Ratnayake released from the Asian Cricket Council where he is presently functioning as a Development Officer. The discussions regarding to his contract will take place soon and Ratnayake is expected to take up his new job early September.

Mathivanan said that Ratnayake is a qualified level four coach and his contract would probably last for a period of two or four years. Prior to working with the ACC Ratnayake successfully headed Sri Lanka Cricket's fast bowling academy.

Ratnayake played 23 Tests and captured a total of 73 wickets at an average of 35.10 and was more than useful tailender scoring two half centuries in Tests.

His most memorable performance of course was when he bowled Sri Lanka to their maiden Test victory in Colombo in 1985 by capturing nine Indian wickets for 125 runs. He also took 76 wickets from 70 one day internationals and figured in the 1983 and 1987 World Cups.

Sri Lanka will have a busy international programme during the next six months where teams from Bangladesh, and England are scheduled to tour the island. In addition they will compete in the inaugural Twenty20 tournament in South Africa in September which will be followed by a two test series against Australia in Brisbane and Hobart in November.

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