Gura to be Cricket Manager


by Rex Clementine

The unsung hero of Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup campaign, Asanka Gurusinha is set to join Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) shortly, sources told ‘The Island’. He will join the national team ahead of the Bangladesh series as Cricket Manager while veteran Ranjit Fernando will function as Team Manager, ‘The Island’ learns.

Gurusinha, 50 and nicknamed Gura, currently lives in Melbourne having migrated to Australia in 1996 at the prime of his career, at the age of 30.

Earlier, Gura was tipped to take over as SLC’s Marketing Manager. However, former team-mate and buddy Aravinda de Silva, who chairs the Cricket Committee, is believed to have aggressively pushed for him to be involved with the national team.

Earlier, SLC had given the task of choosing a competent Marketing Manager to a private firm. After receiving over 60 applications, the firm had shortlisted Gura alongside five other candidates.

Given his expertise in the marketing field apart from his cricketing knowledge, Gura was tipped to take over SLC’s marketing arm.

Gura was employed in Melbourne as a Sales Manager for Trader Classifieds, a company that publishes magazines and websites in Australia

However, on the insistence of Aravinda and backing of SLC Chief Thilanga Sumathipala, he will now take over the newly created role within the national team.

Gura is expected to be in Colombo later this week to sign his papers and take over the post.

The straight talking Gurusinha was a mentor for junior players even during his playing days. With the national cricket team in a transition period, he is expected to play a similar role in his new position.

The ultimate team man, Gurusinha was a hard-hitting left-handed top-order batsman. But with so many stroke players in the side in the mid 1990s, his role for Sri Lanka’s successful World Cup campaign was changed as an accumulator. He is said to have privately protested against his role as the fans didn’t fancy someone blocking every time. But the team desperately needed someone to do that job at number three in a top-order filled with aggressive batsmen in the form of Jayasuriyas, Kaluwitharanas and Aravindas.

He performed the role exceptionally well and his half-century in the World Cup final turned out to be a game changer, particularly at the phase where he took on Shane Warne during the run chase on that memorable night in Lahore.

Former captain Bandula Warnapura too had been in the running to take over the position, but he is believed to have opted out.

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