’96 WC winning Coach Whatmore to Guide Colombo Kings
By Mustaq Sydeen
’96 World Cup winning coach Dav Whatmore, former Pakistani batsman Moin Khan, former Sri Lanka ’96 World Cup winning cricketer Hashan Tillakaratne, former Sri Lanka batsman Thilina Kandamby and former English cricketer Jon Lewis will be the head coaches of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) franchises.
Whatmore has been appointed as Colombo Kings coach, while former skipper Angelo Mathews will lead the side, which include the likes of former South African skipper Faf Du Plessis, Jamaican all-rounder Andre Russell, Major Dinesh Chandimal, Isuru Udana, two Indian cricketers Manvinder Bisla and Manpreet Gony, and many more talented young Sri Lankans on the bench.
The appointment of the Sri Lanka-born former Australian player and coach, Dav Whatmore, the man who led Sri Lanka to the top of the world in limited overs cricket, will no doubt be an interesting call. What more has a wealth of experience as a coach, having worked with four international sides, the most recent being Zimbabwe. He was in charge of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan prior to that.
The inclusion of big hitters like South Africa’s Faf du Plessis and Jamaican all-rounder Andre Russell, with more than 300 T20 matches under their belts, will help team Colombo Kings make a huge impact at the inaugural tournament.
Meanwhile, T20 skipper Lasith Malinga heads the Galle Gladiators squad, which also includes the exciting hard-hitting all-rounder from Pakistan Shahid Afridi, South African Colin Ingram, and former Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed. The team is coached by former Pakistan captain Moin Khan.
Galle Gladiators had an interesting pick at the online draft, where they picked Malinga clone Nuwan Thusara, well known in cricketing circles as Podi (small/little) Malinga, who has the exact same bowling action of the Sri Lankan great. Not just his action, but his hairstyle also resembles his hero. This is the first time the youngster will be playing alongside the senior Malinga.
Galle Gladiators has a deadly bowling attack which also includes Pakistani pacer Mohamed Amir, Sri Lankan Offy Akila Dananjaya, young pacers Nuwan Thusara and M. Shiraz in the squad.
Dananjaya is back in competitive cricket after facing a one-year ban from bowling in international cricket following an independent assessment of his action. The 27-year-old was assessed after the legality of his bowling action came under scrutiny by match officials in the first Test against New Zealand in Galle from 14-18 August. He subsequently underwent an independent assessment in Chennai on 29 August, which revealed that he employed an illegal bowling action.
Among others, Kandy Tuskers picked up Kusal Janith as the ‘local icon’, while Universal Boss Chris Gayle and Liam Plunkett were picked as the two overseas signing. The team will be coached by Hashan Tillakaratne.
Dasun Shanaka is the local icon for Dambulla Hawks, while David Miller and Carlos Brathwaite are the overseas signing. The Hawks team will be coached by Jon Lewis.
Jaffna Stallions has Thisara Perera as the local Icon and power hitter Dawid Malan as the overseas signing. Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik also figures in the squad of 16. Former Sri Lanka batsman Thilina Kandamby is likely to be appointed as the coach since he represented them during the online player draft on Monday evening.
A total of 258 local players were included in the concluded ‘Lanka Premier League Player Draft,’ under four categories (Gold Local, Classic Local, Emerging Local, Supplementary Local), and all categorised players were displayed during the draft, thus giving every player an equal opportunity of being selected.
The Lanka Premier League is scheduled to be played from 21 November to 13 December at two venues – Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy and Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota. Teams will compete in 23 matches over a 15-day period for supremacy.