Sri Lanka Cricket's coaching department is set for a major overhaul with former Test cricketer Asanka Gurusinha set to take up as High Performance Manager. Gurusinha, 51, was appointed as Cricket Manager in March 2017 and was later handed more powers after being named a selector. He is expected to take over the position vacated by Englishman Simon Willis.
Willis decided to end his contract with SLC early due to family reasons and Gurusinha is tipped to take over the position after Sri Lanka's tour to West Indies in June. He will manage the side in the Caribbean where the tourists will play three Tests.
Like Willis, Fielding Coach Nic Pothas too has agreed to end his contract with SLC early. Pothas, the former South African wicketkeeper batsman, was hired by Sri Lanka in 2016 as the Fielding Coach. He was appointed as interim Head Coach after his mentor Graham Ford stepped down as head coach in June 2017.
Pothas was at the helm as Sri Lanka dropped Test series, at home and away, to the number one ranked India. In between Sri Lanka ended Pakistan's unbeaten run in the UAE since the gulf region became the country's adopted home in 2010, winning a two match Test series 2-0.
SLC Chief Thilanga Sumathipala had backed Pothas as a long-term coach. However, after SLC roped in former Test cricketer Chandika Hathurusingha from Bangladesh mid-way through his contract late last year, Pothas's role was undermined. SLC was keen for Pothas to continue as Fielding Coach traveling with the Sri Lankan side, but he had requested to be promoted as Assistant Coach. However, Hathurusingha's choice for Assistant Coach was former Test cricketer Thilan Samaraweera, who had been the team's Batting Coach since November.
Pothas remained in Colombo and oversaw training of Sri Lanka's development teams at R. Premadasa Stadium and it is believed that both parties had agreed to end his term early on mutual consent. Whether SLC will rope in a Fielding Coach or promote Manoj Abeywickrama, who has filled in the role in the absence of Pothas remains to be seen.
SLC had also advertised for the post of Spin Bowling coach and will decide on the candidate after Hathurusingha returns to Colombo from Sydney where he is based. The Head Coach returned to Australia for a break after the Nidahas Trophy.
Several overseas candidates had applied for the Spin Bowling coach position, but former all-rounder Ruwan Kalpage remains the top choice. Kalpage has had a long association with SLC having functioned in many different roles such as Fielding Coach, Spin Bowling Coach and Computer Analyst. He was also part of the coaching staff with Hathurusingha in Bangladesh.
The position of former great Roy Dias, who was the Under-19 team's Head Coach, will also be filled during the next couple of weeks. The leading candidates are Chaminda Vaas, Harsha de Silva, Thilina Kandamby, Malintha Warnapura and Prabath Nissanka. -cricbuzz