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Asanka Gurusinha

Global Game: Sri Lanka World Cup winner to coach Nigeria

By Emerging Cricket

1996 World Cup winning Sri Lanka batsman Asanka Gurusinha was named as Nigeria’s head coach and high-performance director.

The left-hander played 11 years for Sri Lanka between 1985 and 1996, and was a regular in the top order across 41 Tests and 147 ODIs. He is best remembered for his 65 against Australia in the final of the 1996 edition of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup. Gurusinha subsequently moved to Melbourne and qualified as a level 3 coach. He has worked as cricket manager for Sri Lanka since 2017, and consulted for Cricket Australia as a regional cricket coach.

The appointment is a statement of intent for the Nigerian Cricket Federation (NCF), which has seen significant growth in the last 18 months – highlighted by their appearances at January’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, as well as in last year’s ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier. Gurusinha will have a wide ambit in his role with Nigeria, mentoring the Yellow Greens as well as overseeing the training of local coaches, as the NCF seeks to meet increasing demand for cricket around the country.

NCF president Prof. Yahaya Adam Ukwenya highlighted the ambitions of Nigerian cricket: "The appointment of Asanka marks another milestone in this administration’s desire to raise the standard of the game in the country both at the elite and development level. Internally, his appointment will greatly impart on our development structure as we look to begin our Accelerated Growth Program. On the big stage, Nigeria can no longer take a passing interest in world cricket, we should be able to compete at all levels we play and not just make up the numbers."

Gurusinha is due to take charge from 1 December.

Netherlands adds second indoor training facility

The VRA Amsterdam club in Netherlands has added an indoor training facility to its picturesque venue. The three-lane net set-up was originally planned some fifteen years ago by VRA’s flamboyant former groundsman, the late Paul Polak, but had to overcome numerous logistical hurdles. As well as carefully assembling the necessary finances, VRA needed to contend with strict planning regulations from the local authorities, and the engineering challenge of building on the reclaimed swamp of the Amsterdamse Bos.

The indoor nets will allow players to train during the cold Dutch winters, and with the Netherlands’ only other indoor training facility located in Rotterdam, it is hoped that players in the Amsterdam area will have improved access to off-season training. The facility was inaugurated last week by a training session with the men’s national team, and VRA expects it to get plenty of use from international stars as well as its own members and other clubs.

Qatar series postponed

Qatar were scheduled to host a four-team series at home, welcoming Uganda, Nepal and Malaysia. Originally scheduled to start on 14 December, the tour was put on hold after the Qatari government withheld approval due to its policies to combat the coronavirus. As well as being the first cricketing action in months for all of the teams involved, it was also set to be the first outing for Uganda’s new head coach Laurence Mahatlane.

Coronavirus affects Nepal men’s camp, Sandeep struck down

The series’ cancellation compounded a difficult week for Nepali cricket, with superstar leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane testing positive for COVID-19, while several other players received false-positive scares. Recently signed by the Hobart Hurricanes, the infection puts Lamichhane’s participation in a third straight Big Bash league under a cloud, being contracted to play in the tournament from January.

In better news for his teammates, Nepali skipper Gyanendra Malla, his deputy Dipendra Singh Airee and young batsman Rohit Paudel all received clearance to re-join the national training camp at TU ground in Kathmandu after their most recent test results showed no evidence of infection. The trio had been self-isolating after an erroneous initial test at the start of the camp.

Hong Kong to host FairBreak women’s invitational event in 2022

Hong Kong is set to host its first global cricket event for several years, with international gender equality organisation FairBreak announcing a planned women’s tournament for January 2022, the six-team Invitational Women’s Cricket T20. Slated to be held in conjunction with a conference on gender equality, FairBreak has linked up with Cricket Hong Kong (CHK) to organise the event, which is planned to assemble top women’s talent from around the world and within Hong Kong.

The tournament will be a welcome return to high-profile event cricket for Hong Kong, with both the Sixes and Blitz T20 franchise competition put on hold after their 2017 and 2018 editions respectively, due to various financial challenges facing CHK.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post, various stakeholders expressed enthusiasm for the plan, including CHK chairman Tony Melloy: "Given that supporting and growing women’s cricket is one of our five tenets in our Cricket Hong Kong strategy, we are happy to back this event. It’s a good thing to bring top-quality cricket to Hong Kong. We are in discussion with the ICC for the required sanctions and then we would run it under ICC regulations."

Hong Kong women’s bowler Mariko Hill pointed to the benefits for local cricketers: "This tournament will be a huge stepping stone for associate nation cricketers to be playing alongside some of the world’s greatest international female cricketers. What a fantastic opportunity."

Global Game is a collaboration between the ICC and Emerging Cricket.

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