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Tillakaratne appointed Sri Lanka Under-19 coach

Hashan Tillakaratne speaks to reporters in Colombo AFP

Hashan Tillakaratne has been appointed Sri Lanka's Under-19 coach on two-year contract set to run until the 2020 World Cup in South Africa. The former Sri Lanka captain and World Cup winner takes over from Roy Dias.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) interviewed six other candidates, but Tillakaratne, a qualified level 3 coach, was always the frontrunner because of his previous coaching experience with the national team. He had worked as the senior team's batting coach before being replaced Thilan Samaraweera.

The decision to appoint him, meanwhile, was taken by SLC's now-defunct executive committee, but an official announcement had been delayed as a result of a chaotic couple of weeks. Tillakaratne's most recent role saw him coach Galle to the four-day Super Provincial title, as well as the runners-up spot in the limited-overs contest.

Others up for the job were former national players Malinda Warnapura, Chaminda Vaas, Thilina Kandamby, and Prabath Nissanka, as well as Harsha De Silva, while Jeevantha Kulatunga, one of the individuals implicated in an alleged pitch-fixing scandal by a recent Al Jazeera documentary, had also been interviewed for the role at one point.

Sri Lanka's Under-19 team were knocked out before the quarter-finals in the World Cup earlier this year in New Zealand. As such Tillekeratne knows he has his work cut out for him, but having worked with some of the players previously in his role as batting coach in SLC's Khettarama-based centre of excellence, he has a clear idea of what he hopes to bring to the side.

"I worked with some of the boys when the England Under-16 side was down, so I know some of them well," Tillakaratne told ESPNcricinfo. "I'm also looking at improving some technical and tactical aspects as well going forward. But first of all I'm trying to bring in a new team culture, and get everyone playing for the team."