ACC Development Officer Rumesh Ratnayake has become interim coach of Sri Lanka for two months, starting on July 22. He will be with the national team during Australia’s three Test, five ODI and 2 T20i tour of Sri Lanka which starts on August 6 and ends on September 20. “It’s a great honour to be asked and I’m grateful to the ACC for releasing me. Taking on Australia’s always a challenge and knowing the boys as I do, I expect they’ll be very keen to perform to their full potential.”

Rumesh has been an ACC Development Officer since August 2001, during which time has worked on developing cricketers to play in ACC and ICC tournaments. The countries currently under his care are Bahrain, Bhutan, Hong Kong, Maldives, and Nepal. As much as he looks forward to returning to the ACC fold (having deferred his forthcoming assignments in Hong Kong, the Maldives and Nepal), he considers it a “duty and priority to create something special in Sri Lanka: a team culture and continue the legacy that I felt we had in my playing days which was to play for the team and eradicate individualism. Man for man there is more than enough of talent in Sri Lanka we just need to do all the small things right, they lead to big things. Positive mental steps need to be taken, physical work can be tuned. It’s all going to be about upping the skill level and especially the consistency.”

A fast-bowling coach of Sri Lanka before joining the ACC, Rumesh was coach of the ACC Asia XI for the Standard Chartered Afro-Asia Cup 2006 but it is fair to say he hasn’t been working with cricketers of the level of Sri Lanka’s national team for some time. Speaking exclusively to he says, “The basics remain the same no matter what level you play. The thing is you have to work batsmen out, learn to defend against and attack bowlers at the right time in the right way. At a higher level, skills are higher, demands are intense and you need to think better and deliver physically but it is still cricket,” says Rumesh, “I’ve been watching a fair bit of the boys playing over the past months and I know we have it in us to win.”

Rumesh, is replacing Stuart Law, who was named as the new coach of Bangladesh at the end of June. He will be meeting his assistant coaches – Marvan Atapattu (batting), Champaka Ramanayake (bowling), Ruwan Kalpage (fielding) on the morning of the 18th – to discuss strategy for for the Australian series. “We will have to be moving quickly in order to take on Australia. They have some new faces but they will still be Australia and could surprise. As wounded tigers ourselves there are things we need to do right and get right and play all the smart options,” says the new coach.

Australia Tour of Sri Lanka

Filed July 15th, 2011