Former middle-order stronghold Asanka Gurusinha made his return to Sri Lanka Cricket after an extended cricket-less period on Monday the 27th of February 2017. He was assigned to work as the new cricket manager alongside team manager Ranjit Fernando and head coach Graham Ford.
After the World Cup in 1996, Gurusinha migrated to Australia to work as the sales manager for Trader Classifieds, a company that publishes magazines and websites in Australia. Gurusinha was initially requested to take over SLC’s marketing but with Aravinda De Silva’s involvement, he was assigned to work as cricket manager.
“Even the two gentlemen sitting either side of me (pointing to SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala (right) and Aravinda de Silva–the head of Cricket Committee (left) asked me to come back, so as several others after that. But I thought this is the right time,” said Gurusinha said at a press conference in Colombo. (Daily Mirror).
Gurusinha was undoubtedly a key member in Sri Lanka’s world cup winning side in 1996. He was remembered for toughning the side, especially when in trouble. The middle order was ever so stable with the big guy in the side.
“I have worked with most of the players who are the in the senior team at the moment when they were at under-19 level. What I sensed those days was that they weren’t mentally tough. The guys who are doing well now are the ones who are mentally stronger. The others will fade away. The sport needs guys who are mentally strong and I can’t think of anyone else than Asanka to toughen them up. He was mentally the toughest guy I played with,” said his team-mate Aravinda De Silva.
Born on the 16th of September 1996, Asanka Pradeep Gurusinha played for Sri Lanka, Nondescripts Cricket Club and Sinhalese Sports Club before entering Sri Lanka first X1. He was still a teenager when he made his debut as a wicketkeeper-batsman for Sri Lanka.
Gurusinha’s supporting innings alongside Aravinda De Silva in the 1996 World Cup gave him prominence but he was forced to retire a year later. It was indeed an early retirement for a massively talented cricketer.
“I am not blaming Arjuna for my early retirement. At the end of the day, it was my decision, but I didn’t think it wasn’t a pleasant place for me to play. It wasn’t just Arjuna, it was the Sri Lankan cricket board as well,” said Gurusinha in a recent interview with ESPN Cricinfo.
In his short international career, Gurusinha made 2452 Test runs and 3902 ODI runs in 41 and 147 matches respectively. Alternatively, he bagged around 100 wickets in total.
The unbelievable century he made in 1995 at the MCG was considered one of the finest knocks by a Sri Lankan.
“He has played some extraordinary innings on some difficult wickets. The hundred he scored at the MCG in a Test match in 1995 is one of the finest I have seen. It was on a green top and I was struggling. Asanka went ahead of me and made it look all too easy. Tactically he is one of our finest brains. He is a perfect team man as well,” said Aravinda De Silva.
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