Canada's World Cup qualifying campaign August 29, 2007

Canada appoint new coach - at last

Canada have finally appointed a new coach, after a five-month search to replace Andy Pick. Pubudu Dassanayake, their temporary coach, has been appointed in the permanent position which will take effect on October 1.

Back in May, Pick urged the CCA to move quickly to appoint a coach to give themselves the best chance of qualification for the next World Cup. Pick, who had a year's sabbatical from his ECB role to take Canada to the 2007 World Cup, warned that missing out would be "a massive step backwards".

Critics may say that CCA, knowing Pick's contract was to expire, could have acted sooner to replace him. In response, a CCA spokesperson told Cricinfo: "The CCA prefers not to comment on the timelines in the appointment process - elements which are now behind us and in the past. It's far more important to appoint the right person for the position and to avoid taking hurried, and potentially incorrect, decisions. We believe we have achieved exactly that."

Now it is up to Canada to move forward, and move fast. The good news is that in Dassanayake, they have found both an experienced coach and player. Dassanayake emigrated to Canada from his native Sri Lanka in 2001. He played 108 first-class matches, including 11 Tests and 16 ODIs for Sri Lanka, mainly as a wicketkeeper-batsman. He also represented Canada in 2005 and 2006, captaining the national team in 2005.

He brings to the position coaching experience from both Sri Lanka and Canada and has also been a specialist wicketkeeping coach at the Sri Lanka Cricket Academy and a member of the SLCA's Panel overseeing the development of fast bowlers in the country. He has also served as coach of the Junior Elite Program across Canada.

Ben Sennik, the board's president, said: "We're very pleased to have arrived at a 'made-in-Canada' solution for our next national coach. It's clear to all involved - both internationally and within Canada - that the game is growing rapidly here.

"We need an experienced individual in place to provide the guidance to our seniors and junior cricketers. Pubudu knows the Canadian cricket scene well, and we're confident that he'll do an excellent job for cricket in Canada."

Meanwhile, Canada's search for a new chief executive continues - but there are encouraging signs there, too, as the spokesperson confirmed: "We expect to be able to make an announcement within weeks rather than months."

Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo