Dassanayake to coach ICC Americas squad at Nagico Super50
USA coach Pubudu Dassanayake has been announced to fulfill the same role for the ICC Americas squad at the WICB Nagico Super50 later this month in Barbados. Dassanayake will be assisted by former Canada fast bowler and current Cricket Canada selector Henry Osinde.
Dassanayake took over USA's coaching duties in September and helped lead the side to a tournament title at the ICC WCL Division Four in Los Angeles this past November. The former Sri Lankan Test wicketkeeper was the most likely candidate to lead the combined ICC Americas side - comprising players from USA, Canada and Bermuda - as his USA coach's salary is currently being paid for by funding from ICC Americas while the USA Cricket Association remains under suspension for issues regarding its governance.
Another factor is that Dassanayake also has a solid familiarity with many of Canada's players in the ICC Americas squad, having coached Canada from 2007 to 2011 and continues to live with his family in Barrie, Ontario, about an hour north of Toronto. Dassanayake and Osinde take over from Derek Perera and Mike Young, who formed the coaching staff for the ICC Americas squad at last year's WICB Nagico Super50.
ICC Americas staff also announced on Sunday night that USA wicketkeeper-batsman Akeem Dodson has been chosen as the replacement for Steven Taylor in the ICC Americas 15-man squad. Dodson received a call up after Taylor was drafted into Jamaica's squad for the tournament. The 29-year-old Dodson was a member of last year's ICC Americas squad at the Nagico Super50, making 16 runs in three innings, but had initially been left out of this year's 15-man squad when it was first announced in December.
"Whilst it will be disappointing to lose a senior player from the Americas squad, it also means another Americas player gets an opportunity at this level," ICC Americas regional development manager Ben Kavanagh said in a media release announcing the squad change and coaching staff assignments. "Ultimately, the more players who can get an opportunity to play within first-class cricket structures, the stronger the Americas region will be."
The majority of the squad is due to arrive in Barbados on January 21 for four days of training ahead of their first match against Combined Campuses and Colleges on January 26. USA representatives Fahad Babar and Jessy Singh are currently playing first-class cricket in Sri Lanka in a development opportunity arranged by Dassanayake and won't arrive in Barbados until January 23 in order to allow them to continue playing through the seventh round of the Sri Lanka first-class tournament that ends on January 22.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna