Former left-arm spinner to train junior team

Wijesuriya appointed Sri Lanka Under-19 coach

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

September 26, 2006

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Roger Wijesuriya, the former Sri Lanka cricketer and national selector, has been appointed coach of Sri Lanka's Under-19 team for a three-year period commencing November 1.

Reacting to the decision, Wijesuriya, who has proved himself to be a successful coach at the school level, said: "I consider this appointment as a stepping stone towards becoming coach of the senior national team one day."

Wijesuriya has 14 years' coaching experience of schools - he has trained St Benedict's, St Peter's (twice) and Royal, and has guided teams to the school championship title on six occasions. He also coached CCC to honours in 1995-96 when they won the division I title under Jerome Jayaratne.

Wijesuriya, 46, played in four Tests and eight ODIs for his country in the 1980s as a left-arm spinner. After his retirement he served as a national selector for three years, and as member of the tournament and coaching committees of Sri Lanka Cricket. As a player, Wijesuriya was less than impressive, picking up one wicket in four Tests at 297, and needing an average of 97 overs to get a wicket. But as an U-19 player himself, Wijesuriya did better, getting 25 wickets in a series against Pakistan.

"I think it was my school experience that got me the job. I consider it a challenge," said Wijesuriya who beat former Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Romesh Kaluwitharana and former Josephian cricketer Harsha de Silva to the job.

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