Pubudu Dassanayake resigns as Nepal head coach and takes up duties with Canada

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Pubudu Dassanayake has tendered his resignation as head coach of Nepal for “family reasons” with almost a year and a half left on his current contract to take up the same position with Canada. His contract with Canada runs until the end of 2023.

Dassanayake, 52, played Test cricket for Sri Lanka in the mid-1990s before migrating to Ontario in 2001. He eventually made his debut for Canada at the 2005 ICC Trophy in Ireland and helped them qualify for the 2007 World Cup. He became Canada’s head coach for the first time from 2007 until the end of the 2011 World Cup, Canada’s last appearance in the ICC’s flagship event of 50+, before taking over as Nepal’s head coach for the first time. in 2011. He held the position until 2015, leading Nepal to their first T20 World Cup in 2014.

He coached the United States from 2016 to 2019 before returning to work in Nepal for the second time in December 2021. But Dassanayake says family considerations in a post-Covid world have forced him to reconsider his priorities.

“The only thing is that during the Covid period I was totally away from cricket,” Dassanayake told ESPNcricinfo. “My wife’s job, she was very busy during that time. She’s a practicing vet in Canada. She was very busy and I got involved in that too. During that time, once Covid slowed down, I got this offer from nepal since i was away from cricket for some time i wanted to do something because it is my passion i was happy to jump in and help nepal and put things in the right direction. So after a long break, I took the job.

“When I was in Nepal last time between 2011 and 2015, it was different. I was so motivated to do a lot of things and my family was happy for me to go to work in my career. Now we are in a situation where my children need my support for many other things in education. My mother-in-law also fell ill in the last two months. So all these things made me think about the whole situation. My wife manages all these things with her work. For me to be away from there, it puts pressure on me and on all of us because I am not there when the family needs me. I stay in hotels .I go from hotel to ground and back to hotel the rest of the time.This lifestyle is not helping me.

Dassanayake said he attempted to submit a resignation letter to the Nepal Cricket Association ahead of Nepal’s recent ODI tour of Scotland where they won one of four matches against Scotland and Namibia. The board asked him to reconsider, and he continued to lead the team on tour. Upon his return to the team in Kathmandu earlier this week, he had a meeting with the board where they accepted his resignation.

“When I came [to coach Nepal] this time I saw that there were many small groups. The accent was not there to play cricket. There were so many other issues around the system. It took time to clarify that.”

Pubudu Dassanayake

“It would be unfair if I left like this because the Scotland tour was back-to-back after the USA tour,” Dassanayake said, referring to the previous ODI tour from Nepal to Texas in June as part of the World Cup. ICC Cricket World. Of them. “These thoughts came around the first week of July. When I was convinced of what I wanted to do, I sent a letter to the Nepal Cricket Association. game. I just wanted them to focus on cricket and finish this tour.

“Normally when challenged I don’t go halfway. I’m a person who really wants to go all the way and bring the teams into a good era after bad times. If I talk about Nepal before, from Canada earlier and even to the USA, if you see the path, it took me more than a year to go down and come back because the changes we have put in place take time to bear fruit. is also in a situation where we have made a lot of changes and I was confident if I was there for the next 12 months they would basically move towards a top team with this young group and the talent that they have. We just have to be patient with them.

“Nepal has come a long way in a short time with a young group”

During his stint, Dassanayake had to devote a great deal of time and energy to ironing out disputes between the players and the cricket board that diverted their attention from their ability to play on the pitch.

“When I was here in Nepal before [from 2011-2015], one thing I’ve never had is problems within the player pool. They were one team and they were very focused on winning, giving their 200% to win games. When I came this time, I saw that there were many small groups. The thinking was totally different. A certain period of time contributed to this in Nepal. Anyway, I’m not sure. The accent was not there to play cricket. There were so many other issues around the system. It took some time to clarify this.

“When we were in Oman for the T20 World Cup qualifiers, it was right in the middle, but we managed to do things there to get the best out of the team. Then, round by round, we did a lot of cricket training away from home to put people in the right mindset this is the national team and we have to play together to win games for the country so i think we have come a long way in a short time with a young group and a young captain, but [there’s still] a long way to go.

Despite these clashes, Dassanayake believes the right core of players are in place to perform well on the pitch. Besides captain Sandeep Lamichhane, Dassanayake also trusts 19-year-old vice-captain Rohit Paudel and 17-year-old No. 3 hitter Dev Khanal.

“When I arrived in Nepal, there were a lot of clashes between the organization and the players,” Dassanayake said. “There was no real dialogue between the players and the new board. Both sides were very adamant about a lot of things. I was able to mediate because I’m very close to the player group and The board has given me the assurance that however I want to do things, they will support me. We have set the playgroup in the right direction. The board has been very supportive. A When the board saw the young talent coming in, they were very confident in what we were doing. [player] their salaries, their match allowances, their daily allowances. We had to drop a few senior players early on because of the whole problem.

“The reason we are losing games is that some of these top hitters aged 17 and 19 haven’t played enough cricket at this level. It will take a little while, but I think the best talent has been chosen and it’s just that we have to put them in a good program so that they can perform. I saw all these countries associated in the World Cricket League Two. From a talent point of view, they They’re not far from anyone. They just need to gain experience and settle at that level and learn how to deal with situations. Even if I’m not there, I’m still going to support the youngsters.”

His first assignment with Canada will be the League A second round of the ICC Cricket World Cup challenge, which runs from July 27 to August 6. Canada leads the six-team table with four wins in its first five games. , and they will host Singapore, Qatar, Denmark, Malaysia and Vanuatu at the event.

Peter Della Penna is the US correspondent for ESPNcricinfo @PeterDellaPenna

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