Former national selector and first-class cricketer Sajith Fernando was appointed by the United States of America Cricket (USAC) as a member of its Men’s Youth Selection Panel effective yesterday.
Fernando, 47, will be part of the five-member Men’s Youth Selection Panel, headed by Amer Afzaludin. The panel also includes former West Indies great Alvin Kallicharran, and former USA players Steve Massiah and Jannisar Khan. Fernando will be the first Sri Lankan to serve as a selector at any level in another ICC member country.
“USA Cricket is pleased to announce the creation of a new Men’s Youth Selection Panel, as well as the creation of six new Zonal Selection Panels. These new selection panels will come into place as of October 2020, with all selectors beginning their roles with immediate effect. The Men’s Youth Selection Panel will primarily be responsible for selecting all USA Men’s Youth teams. It is a five-person panel, which will be chaired for the first two years by the USA Men’s Selector Amer Afzaluddin. He will be joined by four new appointments, all of whom have experience of playing international cricket, to serve on the panel for a period of three years,” USAC announced in their official website.
Fernando will oversee the West Zone along with Michael Voss and Krishna Prasad during his tenure of three years. Commenting on his new appointment, Fernando told the Sunday Times that he was highly honoured with the trust USAC has in him.
“They (USAC) knew when I came down to the USA two years ago. I was engaged with other commitments and I was highly thrilled when I was offered the appointment,” he said.
Fernando who migrated to the USA two years ago, was one of the successful coaches at domestic level in Sri Lanka, having guided Nondescript Cricket Club (NCC) towards success. He was appointed head coach of University of Southern California, one of the elite universities in the USA which offers scholarships for athletes, earlier this year.
A prolific left-handed opener who was part of Sri Lanka ‘A’ for quite a long time after turning out for Sri Lanka Under-24 and Sri Lanka Under-19, Fernando was one of the highly talented cricketers in the ‘lost generation’ of Sri Lankan cricketers, who failed to represent the country at the highest level.
He ended a 20-year-long first-class career with a tally of 10,700 runs and 269 wickets as an off-spinner in 2012, before taking up roles as head coach and a well-respected cricket commentator. In September 2017, Fernando was appointed as a selector alongside Gerry Woutersz, Gamini Wickremasinghe, Asanka Gurusinha, and Graeme LaBrooy as chief selector.