The Nigeria Cricket Federation, NCF, Tuesday unveiled former Sri Lankan Australian Cricketer, Asanka Gurusinha as the new coach of the national cricket team
According to the federation, Mr Asanka Gurusinha who resumed officially on the 1st of December 2020 will head the high-performance unit of the body and also act as a coach trainer and mentor indigenous coaches.
Asanka Gurusinha, born 16th September 1966, is a former Sri Lankan Australian Cricketer who commands an admirable 11-year international career, playing 41 Tests and 147 One Day Internationals for Sri Lanka.
A specialist left-handed batsman and a key member of the 1996 Cricket World Cup-winning team for Sri Lanka, Gurusinha scored 65 runs in the finals against Australia.
The 54-year old is a level 3 certified coach and was appointed Cricket Manager for the Sri Lanka national team in 2017. He has also served as the Consultant Regional Coach for Cricket Australia.
Reacting to the appointment, the President of the Federation Prof. Yahaya Adam Ukwenya described the move as timely and purposeful and appreciated the support of the Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare.
“The appointment of Asanka marks another milestone in this administration’s desire to raise the standard of the game in the country both at the elite and development level,” he said.
“Internally, his appointment will greatly impact on our development structure as we look to begin our Accelerated Growth Program. On the big stage, Nigeria can no longer take a passing interest in World Cricket, we should be able to compete at all levels we play and not just make up the numbers.”
Hiring a foreign coach for the national team is one of the objectives of the NCF board and they believe the coach will contribute to the development of the sport in the county.
There are five (5) key strategic development pillars for which this present administration believed would lead to sustained growth and development of the sport in the country and one of those pillars is to, Ukwenya stated, is to “Improve the quality of our players and officials at all levels through regular local and international competitions and development events.
“The successes recorded in the last 3 years have seen our national teams play at the highest level in world Cricket with our famous participation at the ICC Under-19 world cup 2020 in South Africa, senior men’s Twennty20 world cup qualifier 2019 in the UAE and the national women’s team world cup qualifier in Zimbabwe also in 2019.”
“In a bid to continuously improve and maintain the standard of our national team’s performance at the elite level, the federation have taken a bold step by hiring the services of a foreign coach of international repute and qualification with a proven track record at the highest level. This decision became imperative as Nigeria looks to compete at more international tournaments in the near future and also improve her performance in world Cricket rankings,” the NCF president added.
The official unveiling of the head coach took place at the MKO Abiola Stadium, VIP Lounge, Package A, Abuja.