SLC removes spin bowling coach, offie faces lengthy suspension


Spin Bowling Coach Piyal Wijetunga had reservations about playing Akila Dananjaya in Test cricket.

by Rex Clementine

Off-spinner Akila Dananjaya faces a lengthy suspension from international cricket after his bowling action was reported as suspect for a second time following the opening Test match against New Zealand at the Galle International Stadium on Sunday. The Sri Lankan team management was provided with footage of about six deliveries which caused suspicion and one delivery in particular is sure to get him into trouble, a source privy to the exchanges between the International Cricket Council and Sri Lanka Cricket told The Island.

Dananjaya was reported in November last year as well and remodeled his action. He will undergo reassessment within 14 days and if it is found that he is bending the elbow more than 15 degrees, he will be banned for 12 months, official sources confirmed.

Interestingly, Spin Bowling Coach Piyal Wijetunga had reservations against playing Dananjaya in Test cricket. Dananjaya had played six ODIs and three T-20s since being cleared in December last year but his action wasn’t reported until he turned up for last week’s Test match.

"I feel it was too early for Akila to make a comeback in Test cricket. The plan was for him to be engaged in ODIs and T-20s and one day to take over in Test cricket once Dilruwan Perera retired from the game," Wijetunga told The Island.

Wijetunga, who had worked as Spin Bowling Coach at SLC for more than a decade, had been discontinued from service after short notice. The former left-arm spinner who had joined SLC in 2005, had been told 24 hours before his contract expired on the 31st of July 2019 that his services were no longer required.

The Island learns that SLC intends to recruit Sachith Pathirana as a Spin Bowling Coach. Pathirana (30) is still an active First Class cricketer.

Ever since Thilanga Sumathipala was elected President of Sri Lanka Cricket, Pathirana received an extended run in the national cricket team despite minimal returns. Now that he has been well and truly exposed in the international arena, the current administration seems to be pushing his case as a coach.

Pathirana’s father Janaka controls around seven votes at the cricket AGM and voted heavily in favour of the current administration during the last cricket elections.

Meanwhile Dananjaya is free to play the next Test match beginning on Wednesday at P. Sara Oval but sources said that he will not be part of the side. Instead, veteran off-spinner Dilruwan Perera has been drafted into the side. Perera has recovered from a hamstring injury.

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