de Silva to assist U-19 squad

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has sought the services of Aravinda de Silva, the former Sri Lanka batsman, to help Under-19 players prepare for next year's World Cup in Malaysia.

de Silva, 42, said he was prepared to help any cricketer who needed his help. "When Sri Lanka Cricket sought my services I was glad to oblige them." He will meet the squad on January 2 and assist them till February 9, before they depart for Malaysia. He will not accompany them on the tour due to some private commitments.

Roger Wijesuriya, the Sri Lanka U-19 coach, was delighted to have de Silva as his team's batting coach. "Our main worry has been the batting,"Wijesuriya said. "With Aravinda's knowledge and experience I am sure the boys will benefit immensely. It is not so much from the technical side that they need guidance but on how to tackle match situations and playing under pressure.

"Aravinda is a hero and the boys will be excited by his presence at practices. It is good for our cricket to have a person like him helping out at any level," he said.

Wijesuriya said that de Silva will be present for the two practice matches his squad was due to play against Colombo Cricket Club on January 2 and against Tamil Union on January 3. After the two games, the squad will be pruned from 30 to 20 players.

Wijesuriya said he was happy with the fitness levels of the team and added that the fielding had improved tremendously as had the bowling. Apart from de Silva, Wijesuriya also plans to ask Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara to speak to the players before they leave for Malaysia.

Just before they head for Malaysia, the U-19 team will play a triangular one-day tournament from January 23 to February 8. U-19 sides from England and Pakistan will join Sri Lanka in the competition which will be played in Dambulla.

Under-19 triangular tournament fixtures:
Jan. 23: Sri Lanka v Pakistan
Jan. 24: England v Pakistan
Jan. 25: Sri Lanka v England
Jan. 27: Sri Lanka v Pakistan
Jan. 28: Sri Lanka v England
Jan. 30: England v Pakistan
Feb. 1: Final