‘Coach’ Jerome Jayaratne Brings new Hope at Khetterama

Written by N Krishnamurthy

After three forgettable years as COO at Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC), Jerome Jayaratne’s return at Khetterama in a coaching capacity has given a new ray of hope to currently dysfunction High Performance Centre (HPC).

Jerome, a former First Class cricketer, was recently transferred to Khetterama as Chief Cricket Operations Officer, a post he occupied for eight years in past. The 53 year old former seam-bowling all-rounder, Jerome Lee Jayaratne, began his career in cricket administration in 1997, when he began coaching his Alma Mater, St. Thomas’ College Mt. Lavinia, who went on to win one Royal-Thomian and draw three more under his wings. Jayaratne also coached the Colombo Cricket Club in 1996 having played for the CCC for 10 years, leading them to be winners of Division I Premier League Championship.

Obviously, Majority of High performance coaches at HPC are happy with Jerome’s arrival, as they are on the opinion that he has the ability to make an impact.

“He has a proven record as a coach. And, he will do good this time also, we just need to give him some time to implement his plans” a high performance coach told Cricket Age.

In his previous tenure at HPC also, Jerome was doing good, before he was dumped and shifted to SLC for administrative responsibility, just to fit Simon Willis.

“It was a disasterous mistake by then board president Thilanga Sumathipala. In order to fit Simon Willis in the system, he blundered by placing Jerome at Maitland place as COO” A former SLC administrator told Cricket Age.

Inevitably, in his tenure as COO, Jerome failed miserably, while overseeing a number of SLC divisions, including human resources, marketing, media and IT.

“He never asked for COO post. They brought Simon Willis from nowhere and dumped Jerome to do office job, which he was not used to, but he will do well at HPC” a former Under 19 team manager told Cricket Age.

Since last two years, HPC was on ventilator, largely due to the incompetence of former Sri Lanka player Asanka Gurusinha to make an impact. Interestingly, like Simon Willis, Asanka, who was in marketing in Australia all those years after his retirement, was also brought by Sumathipala suddenly.

“Asanka was like a dictator at Khetterama. Jerome is part of the system since long, so he will be able to garner everyone’s support” the high performance coach added further.

In September 2015, following Marvan Atapattu’s resignation, Jerome was appointed interim head coach of the Sri Lankan national team. His stint included the home series against West Indies and the tour to New Zealand. After a disastrous world campaign in June this year in England, SLC again brought back Jerome as consultant coach for New Zealand and Pakistan series.

“As a coach, Jerome is better than majority of board’s high profile recruited in last one decade. All those high profile coaches were hired by Sumathipala mainly for commission reasons. Finally, Shammi Silva led administration has taken a right step by appointing Jerome as Chief Cricket Operations Officer at HPC” a top SLC oficial told Cricket Age.

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N Krishnamurthy