Jayawardena to build grassroot cricket in Sri Lanka

Mahela Jayawardene

Former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene is set to take over a role with the country’s cricket administration to develop the infrastructure of the local game at the feeder level.

Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake said that Jayawardene, 37, has consented to a futuristic role in restructuring the schools and junior level cricket.

Jayawardane, who retired from ODIs after the World Cup, was one of the finest batsmen to come through the highly competitive school cricket set up.

He was a brilliant batsman for Nalanda College in Colombo, which has produced so many Sri Lankan internationals, including Sri Lanka’s first Test captain Bandula Warnapura.
In the recent years the school system has failed to produce outstanding cricketers to be fed in to the national team.

Introduction of T20 cricket at school level is being seen as a major reason.
In 2007 a similar role was thrust on Aravinda de Silva, a former captain and one of the finest batsmen produced by the country to revamp junior cricket.

Dissanayake, after Sri Lanka’s exit from the quarterfinals of the 50-over showpiece event, has set out to revamp the local governing body administration by setting up an interim committee headed by the former Test opening batsman Sidath Wettimuny.

They are to take office from tomorrow. Dissanayake’s father Gamini was instrumental in developing Sri Lanka’s local cricket infrastructure, which helped immensely in the island being admitted as a full Test nation in 1981.