Dassanayake eyes Twenty20 World Cup ticketLeading Nepal to World Cup again will be the key challenge for the new coach at a time when the Nepali cricket is embroiled in controversy.
New cricket coach Pubudu Dassanayake on Thursday said he wanted to see Nepal at the Twenty20 World Cup and hoped the dispute between the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) and the players would end soon.
The 51-year-old Sri Lanka born Canadian arrived in Nepal on Tuesday to take over the hot seat he previously coached from 2011 to 2015. During his stint, Dassanayake guided Nepal to the 2014 ICC World Twenty20, which is the highest point the national team have ever achieved in their cricketing history.
Leading Nepal to the world stage again will be the key challenge to Dassanayake at a time when the Nepali cricket is embroiled in a controversy surrounding the cricket governing body and four national players including former captain Gyanendra Malla and former vice-captain Dipendra Singh Airee.
CAN stripped Malla and Airee of their duties earlier this month and decided not to offer the duo, along with Sompal Kami and Kamal Singh Airee, a central contract for the first six months of 2022 alleging them of violating the players’ code of conduct. CAN also handed the duty of leading the national team to Sandeep Lamichhane.
The four cricketers had publicly expressed their dissatisfaction over CAN’s recent grading of national cricketers that placed some players in lower grades.
According to Article 3.3.1 of the players code of conduct no player should give statements to the media in ways to bring the game, ACC, ICC, board or office bearers into disrepute.
“I think conflicts are normal. They can be resolved through talks. I don’t want such disputes as well, especially when the Global Qualifiers are at our doorstep. I hope the players and the association cooperate with me. We should think as a team, as Nepali cricket…not waste any more time on just one person. All problems will be solved,” Dassanayake told reporters.
The coach also said Lamichhane will captain the national team in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Global Qualifier.
“The skipper will remain unchanged for the Global Qualifier because the right to appoint the national captain is reserved solely on CAN.”
Nepal are preparing to participate in the Global Qualifier to be held in Oman in February next year. They are pitted in pot A against Bahrain, Canada, Germany, Ireland, hosts Oman, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates. The top two teams from the group will book the ticket to the 2022 global showpiece, to be held in October and November in Australia.
“I was in regular touch with the players and I have found them very positive. We have a very short window to prepare for the Qualifier. I think Nepal are ready. We will build momentum in the closed camp,” the coach added.
“I see a great change and progress in the national team since the time I first arrived in Nepal. I believe they will achieve the next level. I want to see Nepal at the World Cup and I hope Nepal will never miss out on the global event ever again.”
The national team’s closed camp started on December 21 in Pokhara and the coach said he “will announce a 30-man preliminary squad on Friday”.
Dassanayake replaced Dav Whatmore, who parted ways with Nepal in September citing personal reasons nine months after his appointment. CAN reappointed Dassanayake as the head coach for a two-year term on December 12.