Former international Hashan Tillakaratne appointed head coach of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have appointed former men’s international Hashan Tillakaratne as the head coach of the Sri Lankan women’s team, Daily News confirmed on Wednesday (June 2). Tillakaratne will fill the shoes of interim head coach Lanka de Silva, who was appointed in August 2020 following the ouster of Harsha de Silva after the T20 World Cup in Australia.

Tillakaratne officially took up the post on June 1 and his contract runs till December 2021.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to work with the girls. They’re very talented and skillful. I’m looking forward to the challenge,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Tillakaratne as saying.

The announcement comes as a huge boost to the Sri Lankan team ahead of the home ODI World Cup Qualifier tournament in December 2021 where they will compete against the likes of Pakistan, West Indies, Bangladesh, Ireland, Netherlands, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, USA and Zimbabwe.

53-year-old Tillakaratne made his international debut in 1986 against India. He played a total of 283 internationals for Sri Lanka and had an illustrious playing career topped by a 1996 Men’s World Cup triumph. He previously held the position as the head coach of the Sri Lanka Under-19 Cricket Team and later was attached to the High Performance unit of SLC.

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“We need to analyse and identify what our strengths are. One key aspect I’m looking at is their fitness. Right now, the girls are doing their fitness workouts on their own, and they’re sending us over their video clips. So they’re quite keen and committed, that’s a plus point,” Tillakaratne added.

Chamari Atapattu’s side haven’t played any international cricket since their final group game in the T20 World Cup last year against Bangladesh. They registered their only win of the tournament, giving veteran Shashikala Siriwardene a fitting farewell.

Since then only Atapattu and Siriwardene, who featured in the three-team Women’s T20 Challenge in the UAE last year, have played any competitive cricket outside the domestic matches.

It is understood that SLC are currently in talks with the Pakistan Cricket Board who have shown interest to play a bilateral series.