While Sri Lanka National Team Is still struggling to find the rhythm, even after hiring ‘Messiah‘ Chandika Hathurusingha, Island’s A Team is continuesly keeping hopes high, by winning the trophies for their fans.
Like in Any other Sport, in Cricket too, Partnerships and team spirit wins big for any team, any nation. The Chemistry between Sri Lanka’s A Team Coach Avishka Gunawardana and Manager Charith Senanayake is a classic example of this! As a Coach and as a manager, they gives their players Two most important things : freedom to express themselves and play on their own.
Not surprisingly, Sri Lanka A Team is prospering big time under their wings! Nearly a year ago, they conquered the West Indies, by becoming the first Sri Lanka side to win a test series there. It was a remarkable achievement. Especially, with a limited support staff and no resources.
Yesterday, when National Team struggled to post a decent first innings total in the first test against South Africa at Galle despite a magnificent century by Dimuth Karunaratne, few thousands miles away in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka A team won three match test series 1-0 in thumping style. Riding on the allround performance of Shehan Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka A won by innings and 38 runs to win another much needed trophy for Sri Lanka Cricket.
They delivered again. Again, with limited support staff and with fewer resources!
However, as said before, they do not rely on ‘Million Dollars Paid’ Support staff for their success. Instead, they have created an atmosphere, where it’s easy for players to achieve their full potential.
Last year, when they conquered in West Indies, they had Dhananjaya De Silva and Roshen Silva with the A team. At that particular time, Dhananjaya was mentally down and out, discarded by national selectors after one or two failures here and there. Roshen Silva, meanwhile, was not even in the wildest dreams of Selectors.
Both they joined A Team under Gunawardana and Senanayake wings, and prospered immediately. Dhananjaya was the highest run scorer of that test series in West Indies, while Roshen Silva played solid knocks in the middle order and impressed one and all with his unflappable temperament.
They were immediately called for challenging Indian Tour, and both they scored memorable hundreds!
Few days ago, Dimuth Karunaratne was also playing for the A Team as part of his rehabilitation after the injury. He played against Bangladesh with the A Team, captained the side as well and regained his form by smashing two hundreds. He returned for the national duty and immediately scored a magnificent 158* against South Africa yesterday, when all other Sri Lanka batsmen struggled.
It proves that Gunawardana and Senanayake’s strategies for the A Team are doing wonders for Sri Lanka. Not only Dhananjaya and Roshen Silva blossomed under their guidance, Dasun Shanaka, Malinda Pushpkumara, Jeffery Vandersay, Lahiru Kumara, Shehan Jayasuriya also prospered big time with the A Team and eventually announced themselves at global stage.
However, Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) is currently mesmerized by ‘Australian Bug’. As board former president Thilanga Sumathipala self-proclaimed that SLC has witnessed record profit, they are investigating this money in hiring Australian’s. Chandika Hathurusingha gets paid millions, still, he has only managed a suspension for himself, captain and manager so far. Another high profile Coach in Sri Lanka setup, Hashan Tillakaratne, who has been mysteriously appointed U19 Coach, has started a ‘Chase the dream’ campaign for the next World Cup (to be precise, his wife has started the campaign, thinking that it’s a family assignment).
In between, Gunawardana and Senanayake are quietly doing the thing, which is the most important thing for Sri Lanka : To bring back it’s cricket on track by winning trophies for the country and fans!