Dassanayake leaves behind a legacy

- Adarsha Dhakal, Kathmandu

Nov 29, 2015-

National cricket team coach Pubudu Dassanayake bade farewell to Nepal on Saturday after a successful four-year stint during which period he put the country on the global sporting map by leading the team to the 2014 ICC World Twenty20.

He led the team for the one last time in the ICC World Cricket League Championship matches against Papua New Guinea in the UAE last week.

Prime Minister KP Oli bade farewell to the coach and lauded his contribution to Nepali cricket. Just as he was packing his bags, cricket fans paid tributes under the campaign #thankyoupubudu on the social networking sites. “Thank you Pubudu for teaching us to Dream, Believe & Achieve. You’ve always been a huge inspiration for me & we Nepalese,” Birat Raya, president of Nepali Cricket Fan Club, posted on Dassanayake’s Facebook wall. The 45-year-old coach reacted to the compliments: “Thank you for the lovely words... I am going to miss you all.”

Apart from the 2014 World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, where Nepal received rave reviews for their performances both on and off the field, he helped Nepal climb the ICC World Cricket League ladder—from Division 4 through to 2. He also led Nepal to the 2012 ACC Trophy Elite title—the national team’s only triumph in the tournament’s 14-year history. A year later, Nepal reached the 2013 ACC T20 Final for the first time in their fourth attempt.     

Dassanayake is leaving behind a legacy of having established a system that has opened the avenues for the game’s long-term development. He is credited for setting up a platform for aspiring young cricketers with the advent of National Cricket Academy in 2012. Several academies have been established in its wake. Exposure to regular tour matches was another key component that has gone a long way in shaping the current national team.

Many of the current crop of national cricketers, including skipper Paras Khadka, Gyanendra Malla, have benefited from their exposure to international cricket—something that was few and far between before Dassanayake took over the team’s reins.

Khadka was all praise of the coach during a programme held in honour of the departing coach, on Saturday November 28.  

“Two years to the day, we woke up to a dream that we had just accomplished a day earlier,” said Khadka, recalling a moment he cherishes the most as a cricketer. “It was the day when we qualified for the World Twenty20. It’s a sad day for us today because we are bidding farewell to a man who accomplished our dreams. We hope we can bring him back to the country,” said the skipper.

Published: 29-11-2015 08:39

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