‘If the wicket spins, it’s our World Cup’ | Sunday Observer

‘If the wicket spins, it’s our World Cup’

Hashan Tillekeratne
Hashan Tillekeratne

Sri Lanka Under-19 cricket coach Hashan Tillekeratne is banking on the South African pitches, the host for the Youth World Cup, to be spin-friendly that would offer his team a closer crack at the crown.

“I think if you take the conditions into consideration, this time of the year the wickets are spinning a bit. If that happens, we have a very good chance of winning it,” he told the Sunday Observer ahead of their departure.

The team got the best possible head-start winning last month’s Tri-Series in the West Indies and going into the near-month-long tournament with heads held high.

“The boys are very confident after the victory. Everyone is very focused and confident. I’m sure they will put up a good show,” said Tillekeratne

In response to neighbouring nations, India and Bangladesh being ahead of them, Tilllekeratne explained: “Well, all these U19 players are playing in the Ranji Trophy and Bangladesh Premier League. So they are an experienced bunch.

“Right now, in our context some of them need to get exposed at the Premier and U23 tournaments. If we can get them to play at a higher level against top sides, then they will get the same experience.

“There were so many positives like playing fast bowling and controlling different situations. Specific bowling at bowling time frames. The boys learnt a lot from the tournament.” Tillekeratne said an exciting prospect and a man to mark is the Trinity College player Matheesha Pathirana who has been tagged as the “junior Malinga”. The coach has already drawn up plans for the young blood and Tillekeratne is set to utilise him during the biggest tournament for the U19 players.

“He is a wildcard and was man-of-the-match during the first (youth) Test match against Bangladesh with potential to be a wicket-taking bowler,” said Tillekaratne.

Though bowlers are encouraged and endorsed to develop an authentic action, Tillekeratne is thinking on long-term lines for the lad.

“Matheesha is only 17. He has a long way to go. I think, he is a good find for Sri Lankan cricket,” said Tillekeratne.