Newly-appointed chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) cricket committee Aravinda de Silva said that one of his prime concerns was to restructure school cricket.
"We have to develop our coaching sector. Like medical science, the coaching system keeps changing with new methods and we've got to keep pace with it. We have school cricket coaches but only some of them are knowledgeable," said de Silva. "What is important is that you need more specialised coaches at the lower level than at the top level. You don't need much coaching once you reach the top if you have received proper coaching at the start."
De Silva was appointed to the post last week by the SLC interim committee headed by Arjuna Ranatunga. The rest of the cricket committee comprises past Sri Lankan cricketers Sidath Wettimuny, Hashan Tillakaratne, Ranjan Madugalle, Guy de Alwis, Michael Tissera, Roshan Mahanama and Graeme Labrooy.
Another important aspect de Silva said that he wants to improve is the pitches prepared for junior cricket. "The pitches prepared for school matches don't give the batsmen much confidence to play shots."
De Silva, who is consultant coach to the Sri Lanka Under-19s side preparing for next month's junior World Cup in Malaysia, stated that while he did not see any dearth of talent in the squad, half the side was prone to injuries due to lack of proper conditioning, training and fitness levels.
"I cannot perform miracles within such a short time. But the boys are keen to learn. Their basics are good and I don't want to make any drastic changes and complicate things at this stage. The problem with the batsmen is that they think of too many things (rather) than go out there and hit the ball," De Silva said. "If we are to prepare properly for a World Cup we must start concentrating on our present Under-17s squad and prepare them for the next junior World Cup in two years."
De Silva said that SLC interim committee chairman Arjuna Ranatunga had been very supportive of U-19 cricket and had come to witness the matches played by Sri Lanka in the on-going U-19s tri-nation series against Pakistan and England. "Arjuna is keen to improve the standard of junior cricket," said de Silva, who played most of his cricket for Sri Lanka as deputy to Ranatunga.