Inside Story

Sri Lanka Asks Women’s Team Coach Harsha De Silva to leave

Written by Sumit Seth

The Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has asked Women’s Team Coach Harsha De Silva to leave in order to accommodate a controversial candidate, Cricket Age reliably learns.

Harsha de Silva was appointed Sri Lanka women’s head coach in August 2018, reprising the role he had performed between 2010 and 2013. Harsha’s term was for two years, as he officially began on August 15, several weeks before India women’s tour of the island in 2018.

Although, his contract is going to expire on August this year, the SLC has already informed Harsha that his tenure would not be renewed and has been asked to leave with remaining two months salary.

“Currently, he is stuck in Brisbane due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The SLC has sent him an email, informing him of his departure” an insider at SLC told Cricket Age.

A domestic right-arm seam bowler in his playing days, de Silva holds a Level 3 coaching qualification and had been the women’s head coach at the Valley District Cricket Club in Brisbane. De Silva had replaced Hemantha Devapriya in the position, after Devapriya resigned five months before the end of his stipulated contract, in June 2018.

Harsha’s removal is surprising, given the fact that he has transformed Women’s team into a competitive outfit, that too without several high profile players. De Silva began his coaching with his school St. Joseph’s College, Colombo and later coached two club cricket teams, including a women’s one, in Queensland, Australia.

Among the best coaches in Sri Lanka domestic cricket along with Avishka Gunawardene and Mathumudalige Pushpkumara, Harsha is credited for mentoring renowned cricketers in the country like Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Chamari Athapaththu and Sashikala Siriwardene. More importantly, he enjoys a great rapport with the girls in the team and the younger players have credited him in developing their game. Under his wings, several Sri Lanka Women’s cricketers have achieved their career best ICC rankings (Two players in top 10 in all rounders ICC rankings, two players in top 20 bowlers list and 13 players in top 100 batsmen list). Cricket Age understands that majority of Women’s cricketers are against Harsha’s removal and have shown their displeasure.

More pathetically, Mahesh Weerasinghe, the coach who is going to replace Harsha, is considered as a controversial figure in Sri Lanka domestic cricket. Weerasinghe was appointed as the Development team coach of the Women’s team before the last World Cup. Cricket Age understands that he comes from the family of mafia brothers, who work as coaches in Sri Lankan cricket. According to sources, one of his brother Ajith Weerasinghe is presently working at SLC as the district coach for Kalutara District. The other brother Dinesh Weerasinghe, who was sacked from D.S Sennanayake College, is coaching a cricket club in Panadura. All the four brothers are notorious in Sri Lanka domestic cricket circuit as manipulators of Club Cricket. Particularly Mahesh Weerasinghe, who was brought in just before the ladies World Cup and was sent with the team to Australia, was accused for misbehaving during an official function after having couple of drinks.

About the author

Sumit Seth