Can't Think Of Anyone Else Than Gurusinha To Toughen Sri Lanka's Cricketers: De Silva

Sri Lanka Cricket under current president Thilanga Sumathipala has seen several leading former players joining the board. Accordingly, former captain Aravinda de Silva heads SLC's Cricket Committee while another former captain Sanath Jayasuriya is the head of the Selection Committee. Both players were key members of country's World Cup winning squad of 1996 and another - Asanka Gurusinha - joined SLC on Sunday as Cricket Manger of the senior team.

Gurusinha (50) has lived in Melbourne for the last 21 years since his premature retirement from cricket in 1996, a few months after the country's greatest moment in sports. From the World Cup winning squad of 14 players, nine are serving SLC in various capacities with most of them into coaching.

"We are in the process of restructuring our cricket and the arrival of Asanka Gurusinha is part of that. We are keen to get our best brains to help develop our cricket. Asanka's role will be one where he will co-ordinate with selectors, the team, High Performance Manager and the board," SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala told journalists in a media briefing in Colombo while introducing Gurusinha.

Aravinda de Silva, who nominated Gurusinha for the newly created position of Cricket Manager, expressed why he pushed hard for his former team-mate to take up the new role.

"I have worked with most of the players who are the in the senior team at the moment when they were at under-19 level. What I sensed those days was that they weren't mentally tough. The guys who are doing well now are the ones who are mentally stronger. The others will fade away. The sport needs guys who are mentally strong and I can't think of anyone else than Asanka to toughen them up. He was mentally the toughest guy I played with," De Silva said.

"He has played some extraordinary innings on some difficult wickets. The hundred he scored at the MCG in a Test match in 1995 is one of the finest I have seen. It was on a green top and I was struggling. Asanka went ahead of me and made it look all too easy. Tactically he is one of our finest brains. He is a perfect team man as well," de Silva added.

Gurusinha will be contracted till the 2019 World Cup and will form a key part of the management team comprising Team Manager Ranjit Fernando and Head Coach Graham Ford.

"I am very excited to accept this role. Aravinda is my close friend and we have known each other from our school days. He was my captain when we represented Sri Lanka at the Under-19 level. Glad to join the board and work alongside him. There are some amazing people working to improve our cricket like Aravinda and Sanath who is the Chairman of Selectors. Sanath changed the way cricket is played. He was a young player when I was reaching the twilight of my career and I am amazed at how far he has come," Gurusinha said.

"The World Cup in 2019 is our main target. I am glad to get the opportunity to work with some of the finest players. We will try and see whether we can improve a few things," Gurusinha added.

"I have lived outside Sri Lanka for 20 years now. I love Sri Lankan cricket and I am forever indebted to them. I am glad to be part of our cricket again."

Gurusinha along with Jayasuriya left for Galle immediately after the media briefing. Both former greats will join the Sri Lankan side, who are training in Galle ahead of the first Test against Bangladesh that gets underway on Tuesday (March 7).


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