Sri Lanka’s head coach of the under 19 cricket team Roger Wijesuriya was oozing with confidence about his team’s chances at the Youth Cricket World Cup on the eve of his departure to Bangladesh and said, “My ambition is to somehow win this World Cup for our country”.
Speaking exclusively to Nation, Head Coach Roger Wijesuriya said, “I am really happy about the team I have got as it’s very balanced. I’m really confident because the team is gelling together well due to the fact that these guys have been playing together for the past four years in under 15 level as well as under 17 level for Sri Lanka Richmond College Cricketer Charith Asalanka will lead the Sri Lanka Under 19 team with Ananda College skipper Sammu Ashan as his deputy when the island’s junior cricketers contest the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup which is scheduled to commence on January 27 in Bangladesh. This is the second time that Bangladesh is hosting the junior cricket World Cup.
“I am really happy about the team I have got as it’s a very balanced team. I’m really confident because the team is gelling together well due to the fact that these guys have been playing together for the past four years in under 15 level as well as under 17 level for Sri Lanka, ” said Wijesuriya
The other members in the squad comprise Kaveen Bandara (DSS), Salinda Ushan (Isipathana), Avishka Fernando (St Sebastian’s Moratuwa), Wanidu Hasaranga (Richmond), Kamindu Mendis (Richmond), Vishad Randika (Isipathana), Lahiru Samarakoon (Dharmaraja), Asitha Fernando (St Sebastian’s Katuneriya), Lahiru Kumara (Trinity), Jehan Daniel (St Joseph’s), Damitha Silva (Maliyadeva), Thilan Nimesh (Prince of Wales) and the new comer Charana Nanayakkara (Thurstan).
Sri Lanka will open their World Cup campaign against Canada on January 28 and also play against Afghanistan (January 30) and Pakistan (February 3), their final game.
The last time Sri Lanka had the honor of entering the U-19 World Cup final was under D.S.Senanayaka cricketer Malintha Gajanayaka in 2000, where they lost to India led by Mohamad Kaif.
In 2010 Sri Lanka lost to Michel Marsh’s World Cup winning Aussie team in the semi finals.
Sri Lankan coaching staff comprises Roger Wijesuriya (Head Coach), Avishka Gunawardena (Asst.Coach), Darshana Gamage (Fast Bowling coach) and Darshana Weerasinghe (Trainer).
“This time our strength surely lies in our batting department. We are strong in our spin department when it comes to bowling. This time around both our spin and fast bowling departments are equally good, so we are not that far from achieving great results,” Wijesuriya said.
He added that he wanted to produce good products so that they can represent the country at national level. “We have produced 11 under 19 players who represented the country at the 2008 World Cup like Chandimal, Thirimanna etc. Our national team is doing well in the international circuit and this was my motive. The contributions I have made have finally made me happy. I have targeted 5 to 6 players from this team to represent the national team, hence I’m working towards achieving that goal,” concluded Wijesuriya.
Surprisingly three-times World under 19 champions Australia, the defending champions, pulled out of the tournament due to security concerns.