Former Sri Lanka and Canada wicketkeeper-batsman Pubudu Dassanayake has been appointed USA's coach by ICC Americas. The ICC regional body also appointed Eric Parthen as the new Project Manager to oversee the strategic plan to grow cricket in the USA.
"I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to coach USA, especially at what is an exciting time for USA cricket," Dassanayake said. "I believe there is a great deal of talent here; it will just require hard work from everyone involved to get the best out of these players and hopefully see US cricket progress to higher honours.
"Our initial focus is on preparing the senior team for the WCL Division 4 event in LA next month. That is the first step on what I hope will be a successful journey."
Dassanayake played 11 Tests and 16 ODIs for Sri Lanka in 1993 and 1994. He moved to Canada in 2001 and represented the Canada national team in 2005 and 2006, captaining them in the Intercontinental Cup. After retiring, he served as Canada's national coach from 2007 to 2011, and Nepal's national coach from 2011 to 2015. Along with captain Paras Khadka, Dassanayake has been credited with lifting Nepal's fortunes in their rise from WCL Division Four to the top flight of Associate cricket in the WCL Championship.
Nepal also qualified for their first major ICC tournament during Dassanayake's tenure, reaching the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh where they recorded wins over Hong Kong and Afghanistan. He stepped down from the Nepal role in October 2015, citing personal reasons. He moved back to his home base in Canada but briefly returned to Nepal in a consultancy coaching role for the team's WCL Championship wins over Namibia in April and their tour of England in July ahead of WCL Championship fixtures in the Netherlands in August.
Dassanayake was shortlisted as a finalist for the USA coaching job in July and confirmed his interest in the role to ESPNcricinfo during a USA 30-man national squad camp in Florida, where he attended in a guest coaching capacity during a series of training sessions as well as two 50-over intrasquad matches to familiarize himself even more with the team ahead of his anticipated appointment. "Nepal, they were from Division Four to Division One and played a World Cup and I want to do the same for USA," he said.
Dassanayake also traveled to St Vincent in August where he coached an ICC Americas combined U-19 squad in the WICB Regional U-19 tournament. He is expected to be in New York this weekend where a New York invitational XI, which includes ten USA national squad players, will be playing two 50-over matches against a Marylebone Cricket Club touring side on September 10-11. He will also be in place to lead USA's five-day national team camp in Indianapolis from September 17-21, which includes two 50-over matches against the same MCC tourists as well as three days of intrasquad training and trial games.
Parthen, who has previously served as Executive Director of USA Boxing and Chief Executive of USA Taekwondo, will be tasked with overseeing the implementation of plans to expand cricket in the USA. Since July 2013, Parthen served as the executive director of the El Pomar Youth Sports Park in Colorado Springs, where the ICC Americas office recently shifted from its prior location in Toronto.
"I am thrilled to be joining ICC Americas at such a pivotal point in its history," Parthen said. "My focus will be on working with the whole cricket family here in the US and creating a sustainable structure to allow cricket to flourish at all levels."