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Pubudu looking to steer Canada to full ICC one-day status

His dream was to become Sri Lanka's number one wicket-keeper-batsman and to establish his position in the national team. He showed a glimpse of his capabilities while representing the Test and one day team for a period of over two years with reasonable success.

Pubudu Dassanayake

But in a dramatic turn of events Pubudu Bathiya Dassanayake shifted his career prospects and turned towards a different role of becoming a cricket coach. After being involved in the job for just over two years he is set to embark on a mission and to help Canada achieve the ultimate goal of ICC Test status.

The Canada cricket team with their coach Pubudu Dassanayake

Dassanayake who migrated to Canada in 2001 has earned a reputation in that country as one of their top coaches as they look to produce a better performance in the 2011 - ICC World Cup in the sub continent.

Dassanayake who has played 108 first class matches including 11 Tests and 16 one day internationals for Sri Lanka as a wicket-keeper-batsman believes that the Canadian team is moving in the right as they make their final preparations ahead of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers in Dubai.

Dassanayake made his Test debut against South Africa at Moratuwa in August 1993 as the first choice wicket keeper but lost his position as his batting form fell below the international standards. Nevertheless he is pleased with the kind of decisions that he has made although he had a liking to play for his country for as long as possible.

But he was put under tremendous pressure with the emergence of Chamara Dunusinghe and Romesh Kaluwitharana before playing his last Test match against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 1994. During his period in the Test team he excelled behind the wickets with 19 catches and five stumpings.

Dassanayake is currently touring Sri Lanka with the Canadian team who are competing in a Four Nation Twenty20 tournament that also feature Ireland, Afghanistan and the hosts Sri Lanka 'A'. Thereafter they will travel to Dubai for the Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers where they will battle it out along with Ireland, Afghanistan, Canada, Scotland, United States of America, United Arab Emirates, Kenya and Netherlands.

The two top teams of this tournament will qualify for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup which will be staged in the West Indies in April this year. Canada of course have already gained ICC one day international status temporarily until the next World Cup qualifies in 2013.

But their immediate goal is to achieve ICC one day international full status which will certainly be a tremendous boost to the game overall in Canada. Pubudu Dassanayake believes that his team is well on course towards achieving their target and hope to make the maximum at the 2011 World Cup.

Coach Pubudu Dassanayake in conversation with the Canadian captain. Pictures by Mahinda Vithanachchi

Dassanayake, a Level Three coach stated that the main reason his team is touring Sri Lanka was to acclimatize to the sub continent conditions and also to give his players more opportunities of playing against quality spinners on slow tracks.

The other major setback for Canada is of course the fielding department which they need to improve if they are to make an impression in international cricket. As a solution for this, Dassanayake has got down four Under-19 players into the national squad and they were also part of the Twenty20 series worked off in Colombo.

The domestic structure in Canada and the age factor has also been a major issue for Canada who are really starved of top first class cricket in the country. As a result they have been forced to seek other alternatives and recently they had some of their national players representing the Tamil Union and Colts Cricket Club in the Premier League three day tournament.

Dassanayake, a Canadian Sports Diploma holder stated that when he took over the team 18 months ago the average age was 33 but has now brought it down to 29 which is a good sign for the future.

The youngsters are not coming at the correct stage and by the time they are ready to play for the national team they have reached their late 20's.

Dassanayake is hoping to promote more youngsters into the national team and to combine it with a couple of experienced players. However the biggest advantage for him is the fullest support and the backing of the Canada Cricket Association. Dassanayake stated that the Canadian Cricket Board believed his word and that was the best thing that happened to him since taking over the post of head coach. The second vice president of the Board Ravin Murthi who is directly involved with the national team has been providing every assistance towards the success and development of the team.

Now it is up to Canada to move forward, and move fast. The good news is that with the services of Dassanayake, they have found both an experienced coach and player who also represented Canada in 2005 and 2006 while captaining the national team in 2005.

He brings to the position coaching experience from both Sri Lanka and Canada and has also been a specialist wicket keeping coach at the Sri Lanka Cricket Academy and a member of the SLCA's Panel overseeing the development of fast bowlers in the country. He has also served as coach of the Junior Elite Program across Canada.


[The Achievements: ]

Full name: Pubudu Bathiya Dassanayake

Born: July 11, 1970, Kandy

Current age: 39 years

Major teams: Canada, Sri Lanka, Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club,

Colombo Cricket Club, Colts Cricket Club,

Sinhalese Sports Club.

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Fielding position: Wicket-keeper

Test debut: Sri Lanka v South Africa at Moratuwa, 1993

Last Test: Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Bulawayo, 1994

One day international debut: Sri Lanka v South Africa at R. Premadasa Stadium, 1993

Last one day international: Sri Lanka v New Zealand in Bloemfontein, 1994

First class debut: 1989

First class matches: 108 Innings: 156 Not outs: 10 Runs: 3,840 Highest score: 144

Average: 26.30. 100's: 4 50's: 20 Catches: 192 Stumpings: 35




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