Inside Story

Avishka Gunawardene Arrives In Mohali With Sri Lanka Test Squad

Written by Rohit Pawar

Former International Avishka Gunawardene arrived Mohali today along with Sri Lanka’s test squad for the two match series against India, Cricket Age reliably learns.

Avishka, who served as Head Coach of Sri Lanka U19 side in the recently concluded Youth World In West Indies, has been drafted as batting coach of the senior team. The decision was taken by  Aravinda de Silva led Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), which is currently the decision making authority in cricket related matters in the Island.

“He went India along with the players today and will stay there until T20 squad merge with test side” a top SLC official told Cricket Age.

Interestingly, TAC has promoted Avishka to the national setup, even when the deficiencies in his coaching methods were brutally exposed, as his side could secure a disgraceful 6th play off place in the U19 ICC event. The result was an exact opposite of the pre-tournament hype surrounding Avishka, where with influenced social media campaigns, he strategically projected  himself as lone savior of the game in the Island!

During the campaign, Avishka in almost every match committed tactical blunders, which proved fatal for the side. Against Afghanistan, wicket keeper batter Anjala Bandara was promoted at number 5, even when opposite side’s fast bowlers were bowling well. Then, Yasiru Rodrigo was sent ahead of Captain Dunith Wellalage. Finally, Wellalage came to bat at number 8 and scored a valuable 34. However, his effort couldn’t escape Sri Lanka, as multiple run outs and an insipid batting performance from the top order insured 4 run defeat against Afghanistan.

However, the biggest blunder was made at the toss itself, when Sri Lanka opted for fielding! Interestingly, right after his appointment as coach, Avishka kept saying that batting is the strong fort of his side.

Notably, this was the second such blunder by Avishka in the span of few weeks. Just before the world cup, decision of batting first proved fatal in the final of the Asia Cup too, as Welalage led side was comprehensively thrashed by a superior India in the one sided final. In overcast conditions, where covers were removed just a hour before the toss and even Sri Lanka’s openers were seen wearing sweaters, Avishka led coaching staff mysteriously and suspiciously instructed the captain to bat first after winning the toss. Overcast conditions tend to have a lot of moisture, air which helps the ball to move. Avishka and others mysteriously and suspiciously ignored weather conditions and it proved too much for their batters, as the team were bundled out for paltry 102 and lost the final.

Notably, In 2019, Avishka was banned by the ICC Anti Corruption Unit (ACU) in corruption charges. He was charged with Article 2.1.4 that relates to — Directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, instructing, persuading, encouraging or intentionally facilitating any Participant to breach Code Article 2.1.

Sri Lanka on Friday announced an 18-man Test squad for the upcoming 2-match series against India. The two teams will play the first Test in Mohali from March 5 and the 2nd, a pink-ball Test, in Bengaluru from March 12.

Sri Lanka Test squad for India series

  • Dimuth Karunaratne Captain
  • Pathum Nissanka
  • Lahiru Thirimanne
  • Dhananjaya de Silva Vice-Captain
  • Kusal Mendis subject to fitness
  • Angelo Mathews
  • Dinesh Chandimal
  • Charith Asalanka
  • Niroshan Dickwella
  • Chamika Karunaratne
  • Ramesh Mendis will not take part due to an injury
  • Lahiru Kumara
  • Suranga Lakmal
  • Dushmantha Chameera
  • Vishwa Fernando
  • Jeffrey Vandersay
  • Praveen Jayawickrema
  • Lasith Embuldeniya

Fast bowler Suranga Lakmal returns to the Test squad and he will partner the likes of Dushmantha Chameera and Vishwa Fernando. In Lasith Embuldeniya, Jeffrey Vandersay and Praveen Jayawickrema, Sri Lanka have a potent spin attack for the Test series.

About the author

Rohit Pawar

An Independent I.T. Security Expert, Geek, Blogger & Passionate Programmer.