Development Squad’s tour of Bangladesh :
‘An opportunity for youngsters to show their prowess’
Sri Lanka’s Development Squad coach Romesh Kaluwitharana believes
their tour of Bangladesh starting from today will open the gates for
many talented players to make a lasting impression that will put them in
line for a place in the national team.
The 15 member Sri Lanka Development Squad led by Tamil Union all
rounder Muthumudalige Pushpakumara will leave the country today and will
play two four day matches, five one day games and another two day
practice match against their counterparts during their tour.
Originally the tour also included a Triangular limited over series
featuring a team from South Africa who have however informed their
inability to participate.
As a result Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will play five one dayers after
the two 4 day fixtures at the Chittagong National Stadium.
This is also the second team from Sri Lanka to tour Bangladesh within
the space of few days after the Under 19 team led by Dinesh Chandimal
departed last week for a series of matches.
This tour of course will be of great significance for Kaluwitharana
who will be involved with a national team for the first time.
The former Sri Lanka wicket keeper opening batsman made his mark by
guiding Colts Cricket Club to win the SLC Premier League Tier A title
this year after a short stint with the Malaysian national team for the
World Cup qualifying round tournament. The other major factor is there
are five exciting players in the Development Squad who are also in
contention to earn a place in the Sri Lanka squad for the upcoming ICC
World Twenty20 tournament in England.
The five players who will be hoping to make an early impact in an
attempt to gain a place in the Sri Lanka team will be Gihan Rupasinghe,
Isuru Udana, Milinda Siriwardena, Thisara Perera and Lahiru Thirimnna.
Coach Kaluwitharana stated that these players have been given the
opportunity and now it is upto them to adapt to the foreign conditions
and perform to their fullest potential.
He added that he is quite happy to serve the Development Squad as it
is a feeder towards the ‘A’ team and thereafter to the national squad.
“We have enough talent but lack professionalism and I am prepared to
work closely with the SLC to overcome this aspect of the game,” added
Kaluwitharana who believes the purpose of a squad of this nature is to
provide good replacements for the future.
Another important fact is that some of these players could also stand
a chance of been promoted into the list of contracted players of Sri
Lanka Cricket (SLC).
Kaluwitharana also said that they had very few days of preparation
for this tour but believe the players will soon acclimatize to the
conditions and deliver the goods.
The Sri Lanka Development Squad: Muthumudalige Pushpakumara
(captain), Mahela Udawatte (vice captain), Lahiru Thirimanna, Kanchana
Gunawardena, Gihan Rupasinghe, Milinda Siriwardena, Kaushal Silva, Ashan
Priyanjan, Nuwan Pradeep, Chanaka Welagedera, Isuru Udana, Thisara
Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Ranesh Perera, Suraj Mohamed.
Stand byes: Seekuge Prasanna, Chaminda Vidanapathirana, Kusal Janith
Coach: Romesh Kaluwitharana.
Manager: Anura Tennekoon.
The itinerary: April 30 and May 1: 2 day warm up match at Chittagong.
May 4 to 7: 1st four day match at Chittagong. May 10 to 13: 2nd four
day match at Chittagong. May 16: 1st one day at Sylhet.
May 17: 2nd one day at Sylhet.
May 19: 3rd one day at Sylhet.
May 21: 4th one day at Sylhet. May 22: 5th one day at Sylhet.