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Dassanayake returns for second stint as Canada men's cricket coach

Canada's cricketer Zubin Surkari, right, listens to team coach Pubudu Dassanayake during a training session in Bangalore, India, Tuesday, March 15, 2011. Dassanayake is returning for a second stint as Canada men's cricket coach. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Aijaz Rahi

TORONTO — Pubudu Dassanayake is returning for a second stint as Canada men's cricket coach.

The former Sri Lankan international, who switched his international allegiance to Canada after emigrating here, succeeds South African-born Amarinder Bhinder, who had served as interim coach since November 2018.

Dassanayake was first appointed Canadian coach in August 2007, after retiring as a player and serving as acting coach for several months. He helped Canada qualify for the 2011 World Cup before resigning to coach Nepal.

He coached Nepal from 2011 to 2015, helping it qualify for its first ICC T20 World Cup appearance in 2014. He coached the United States from 2016 to 2019.

He returned to the role of Nepal coach in December 2021, resigning that position to return as Canada coach.

The 52-year-old Dassanayake, a wicket-keeper, represented Sri Lanka in 11 test matches and 16 one-day internationals in 1993-1994. After coming to Canada, Dassanayake made his Canadian international debut at the 2005 World Cup. He also represented Canada at the Intercontinental Cup in 2005 and 2006.

Dassanayake, who signed a two-year contract with Cricket Canada, will be in charge at the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League A, which runs July 25 to Aug. 7 in King City, just north of Toronto.

Denmark, Malaysia, Qatar, Singapore and Vanuatu join host Canada at the Maple Leaf Cricket Club. The tournament was originally slated to be held last August but was pushed back due to the pandemic.

The Challenge Leagues are a 2 1/2-year competition involving 12 teams considered three steps away from the 2023 World Cup.

There are two Challenge Leagues A and B, each comprising six teams that play 15 matches each over two years. Canada, Denmark, Malaysia, Singapore, Qatar and Vanuatu form Group A. Group B is made up of Bermuda, Hong Kong, Italy, Jersey, Kenya and Uganda.

Canada currently tops Group A at 4-1 while Uganda heads Group B at 8-2.

The top team in each league at the end of the competition will secure two of the six places in the Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier Playoff to be held later in 2022, alongside the bottom four of Men’s CWC League 2. The top two teams from the playoff continue in the hunt to participate in India 2023.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 20, 2022.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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