Prabath Nissanka resigns
By Desmond Samith | August 25, 2013
Sri Lanka this week lost the services of yet another talented coach when Prabath Nissanka, who was employed by the board as an assistant fast bowling coach, handed over his resignation after Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) refused to grant him leave to complete an advanced coaching program in Australia.
The former national paceman Nissanka, 32, had sought SLC's permission and leave for one year to follow a level III and IV certificate course on fitness. He was prepared to pay for the course, which starts in October, out of his own pocket.
"We were not in a position to grant Prabath leave for such a long period," said SLC's acting-CEO Ashley de Silva. "We'll soon advertise to recruit a new fast bowling coach for the under-19 side."
However, in a similar case, a highly regarded coach Chandika Hathurusingha too lost his job months before the 2011 World Cup when the SLC hierarchy took him to task for seeking to further his knowledge and skills by taking up a coaching course in Australia.
Many felt at the time that SLC's action were inappropriate and detrimental to the country's cricket interests on the long run. Even the then captain Kumar Sangakkara wrote to cricket officials asking them to reinstate Hathurusingha, considering his innovative coaching abilities and huge popularity with the players. SLC held to its guns and Hathurusingha went on to sign up as the coach of New South Wales.
Nissanka, a holder of a level III coaching certificate (Australia), has functioned in his position for the last seven years. Many consider him to be the best young cricket coach produced by the country in the recent past.
"Nissanka is a brilliant coach with a bright future. He understands the game, he understands the players. He works really well with youngsters, and he is the ultimate team man," said a cricket official.
"Now, we need to take a new coach who is less experienced and new to the setup. The board will have to help him advance his knowledge in coaching. At the same time, he'll have to look after young fast bowlers.
"All this trouble could have been averted if the board had been a bit understanding and flexible."
The board must treat its coaches well and look after them, he further said.
After a recent interview, the outspoken Nissanka fell foul with cricket officials over some comments he made regarding the need to develop cricket in outstations.
In that interview, Nissanka had this to say when asked about the opportunities and the exposure the local coaches are getting: "I think this is one area Sri Lanka Cricket needs to address. We are doing what we can, but we don't have enough facilities to help coaches. I feel all our top-level coaches — national coaches and provincial coaches — should be sent abroad for training. Not only coaches, but also physiotherapists, fitness trainers and everyone. Give them enough knowledge. Australia, South Africa, England and even India have taken up coach development very seriously. In those places, players are exposed to a professional set-up from their early days, as the coaches, physiotherapists, trainers and masseurs work in such environments."
Desmond Samith is a sports journalist for the Ceylon Today newspaper.
© Desmond Samith/Ceylon Today