No half measures for Sri Lanka coach

Don Cameron

November 23, 2000

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The Sri Lanka coach Guy de Alwis hopes his all-or-nothing approach will lift the Sri Lankans' performance during the CricInfo Women's World Cup tournament that will start in Christchurch next week.

After rousing himself from a deep jet-lag sleep after landing in Auckland today, de Alwis was confident the Sri Lankan players would make a good showing.

In an earlier newspaper article Rasanjali Silva, the captain, jokingly called de Alwis a hard task-master - "he would not even allow us a drink during training" - and today de Alwis makes no apology for his no-nonsense attitude.

"I became coach when women's cricket was first established in Sri Lanka in 1997," said the Sri Lankan wicket-keeper of the 1980's.

"The players had only about three months' training before their first World Cup in 1997. They had just started to play with the hard cricket ball.

"So they have had to work hard to learn the game.

"They had to appreciate that if they want to play cricket at this World Cup level you have to work hard. You cannot have half measures."

The coach was a regular Sri Lankan keeper during the 1980s, playing 11 Tests (21 catches 7 stumpings) and 31 one-dayers (27 catches and three stumpings).

De Alwis said the Sri Lankan team might not have many well-known star players, but they had solid all-round ability, and he suggested they might cause some surprises during the tournament.

The leading player is Silva, one of the nine survivors of the 1997 campaign which brought them a first-up win over West Indies and losses to New Zealand, Netherlands and England. Not surprisingly, Silva says she draws inspiration from Sanath Jayasuriya, the brilliant all-rounder who is now captain of the Sri Lankan men's side.

Scorers during the CricInfo tournament may be mystified by some of the Sri Lankan names, which suggest no fewer than four given names preceding the surname.

Silva, for example, has the full name of Sendapperuma Archige Rasanajli Chandima Silva, which reduces to Rasanjali Silva. She plays for the same Colombo club (Slimline) as Lidamulage Dedunu Vindya Wijayanthi de Silva, who answers to Dedunu de Silva.

The leg-spin bowler Kathri Achige Dona Chandrika Lakmalee uses only the last two names while playing cricket, although some of their scoresheets contain the full flourish of four initials.

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