Former Test captain Hashan Tillakaratne has been appointed as Sri Lanka’s Under-19 coach on a two-year stint. The 50-year-old takes over from another Sri Lankan great, Roy Dias.
Not long ago, Tillakaratne functioned as the batting coach of Sri Lanka’s senior side and the players credited him after their victory over Pakistan in a two-match series in UAE last year. His inputs on tackling Pakistan’s spinners in particular, got him high praises from opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne.
He was also the head coach of the team for the one-off T20 in Lahore in November last year after Nic Pothas pulled out due to security reasons.
Tillakaratne was replaced by Thilan Samaraweera, whom SLC hired on the recommendations of head coach Chandika Hathurusingha. Despite not being on Sri Lankan duties, Tillakaratne was still on SLC staff, working with fringe players at the cricket center in the R. Premadasa Stadium.
In April, he helped Galle claim the first-class title this season. The Galle side also reached the final of the limited-overs tournament.
Among the others shortlisted for the job were former Test cricketers Chaminda Vaas and Malinda Warnapura. Harsha de Silva, who has mentored several current young Sri Lankan cricketers, was also in the running.
Sri Lanka’s Under-19 side has struggled in recent times and at the last Youth World Cup in New Zealand, held earlier this year, failed to make it to the quarter-finals.
The first Sri Lankan to score a Test hundred in South Africa and a member of the 1996 World Cup winning side, Tillakaratne was understudy to Arjuna Ranatunga. However, after a disastrous World Cup campaign in 1999, he was axed from the side. He made a stunning comeback two years later before going on to captain Sri Lanka for two years.
Sri Lanka have a few bilateral series for the Under-19 side over the next few months with India Under-19 expected to visit the island later next month.
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