Former Sri Lanka cricketer Pubudu Dassanayake, who coached Nepal from 2011 to 2015, has been shortlisted as a finalist for the job of USA’s head coach. Dassanayake, who lives close to Toronto, said he is looking for a challenge close to home after spending several years away with the Nepal side.
“Nepal, they were from Division Four to Division One and played a World Cup and I want to do the same for USA,” Dassanayake told ESPNcricinfo in Florida where he is participating in an ICC coaching seminar. “I think it’s a great place. There are great opportunities, a lot of talent in this country. I’d really like to see them come up the ranks and be in that World Cup setup.”
Prior to his success with Nepal, Dassanayake coached Canada from 2007 to 2011, and helped them to the 2011 ODI World Cup in the sub-continent, Canada’s last major ICC event. Dassanayake also played for Canada after migrating from Sri Lanka following the end of his Test career and played in the 2005 World Cup Qualifier in Ireland.
His ties to North American cricket make him a strong contender for the role. While coach of Nepal, Dassanayake racked up an impressive record against USA in ICC competitions, losing just once – at the 2013 ICC WCL Division Three in Bermuda – in six meetings.
Anand Tummala, former USA and Ranji Trophy representative, is also in contention for the post. Tummala played briefly for Delhi before migrating to Atlanta in 2007. He made his only tour with USA in 2011, playing three T20s, including games against Canada and Afghanistan. Tummala, who is a Level Three Cricket Australia certified coach, also served as a guest coaching evaluator at last year’s ICC Americas Combine in Indianapolis. Tummala has also been in Florida this week as part of the ICC coaching seminar.
Both Tummala and Dassanayake attended USA’s first training session in their week-long camp which began on Thursday, and will also be present at an exhibition match on Friday between a USA XI and a CPL Invitational XI in Lauderhill.
Although the ICC wouldn’t comment on the applications, there are believed to be at least two more finalists with interviews beginning on Friday. USA will play three 50-over intra-squad trial matches in Florida next week among a 30-man squad, after which 14 will be selected for ICC WCL Division Four in Los Angeles from October 29 to November 5. (ESPNcricinfo)
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo’s USA correspondent.