The Canadian Cricket Association has named Pubudu Dassanayake as Canada's new National Cricket Coach. The popular former Sri Lankan test and ODI player Dassanayke played for Canada in the 2005 ICC Trophy. He has subsequently appeared in ICC Intercontinental Cup matches for Canada, and in 2006 assisted then National Coach Andy Pick.
Pubudu Dassanayake was born in Kandy, Sri Lanka in July 1970. He played 11 tests for Sri Lanka in 1993 and 1994. His highest score was 36 runs against India at Lucknow. He took 19 catches and made 5 stumpings in these tests as a wicketkeeper. His 16 ODIs included a highest score of 20 runs not out, also against India.
He has made 4 centuries, with a highest score of 144 against Pandura Sports Club, in 108 first-class matches. He has mostly played as a wicketkeeper, taking 192 catches and making 35 stumpings, but some of his catches came as a regular fielder for Canada in the Intercontinental Cup. He held three catches in the Kenyan first innings at Maple Leaf CC in 2006.
Currently, Dassanayake captains Centurions in the Premier Division of Toronto and District Cricket Association. This summer he coached the Canadian senior side and made coaching contributions to the Under-19 team. He spent part of the Labour Day holiday (Sept 3) giving support to Centurions Under-19 team that went on to win the T&D Under-19 Championship match against Ontario Cricket Academy. On Wednesday he will be coaching the available Senior National team players at a net practice.
Hopefully, he can help continue the progress the national team has made, despite come of the constraints and issues that presently surround the game in Canada. The real need is for proper planning and infrastructure across administration, coaching, player development, promotion of the sport and securing proper financing. There is tremendous potential.
The Toronto-based Consul General of India recently talked of the potential for Canada to host a Cricket World Cup in the future. Someone with powerful financial standing attended part of the final day of the Canadian Universities and Colleges championship! But who from the Canadian Cricket Association, or the ground authority spoke to that visitor?
For now, Pubudu Dassanayake will be leading a depleted squad to Kenya and Namibia for some important matches in October. Hopefully, the players will dig deep and come up with some performances similar, or even better, than those in South Africa in late 2006.