Nepal’s new coach Pubudu Dassanayake is confident that his team can make most of the home advantage during the ACC Twenty20 Cup.
The ACC Twenty20 Cup will be held in Kathmandu from 3-11 December. The tournament will help spot three Asia teams for the ICC World Twenty20 2012 Qualifiers to be held in UAE.
Dassanayake was till recently the coach of Canada and thereafter moved onto his new role with Nepal.
“It has been good so far in the six weeks that I have been here. The team has had a good build-up. We have some good players and there has been enough time to iron out a few things,” said Dassanayake.
Having been part of the coaching set-up of an associate member team like Canada, Dassanayake is aware of the challenges that come with the job.
“I was coach of Canda for four years. I am now aware of challenges faced by associate teams. But I have adjusted really quickly with Nepal. I am happy with the team we have,” added Dassanayake.
According to Dassanayake there is one big difference in coaching Canada and Nepal.
“In Canada we have three or four different origins of players like Pakistanis, Indians, Americans and West Indians. Here all the players are from the same country and community. That makes things that much more easy to handle,” reckoned Dassanayake.
A former Sri Lanka wicket-keeper, Dassanayake, is excited about the talent in the squad and about their hunger to perform.
He is also banking on the home advantage to do well in the tournament.
“On any given day we can expect around 10,000-15,000 people to watch a Nepal game. The pitches are slow and the players are used to playing on these tracks. So it will be a big advantage for the team,” opined Dassanayake.
The new Nepal coach is also excited about the strength of the bowling and fielding of his side.
“If we bat well, we can do well in this tournament. I think among associates we have the best bowling and fielding side. Afghanistan and UAE are the favourites for the tournament. But we want to prove that we are the best among the associates,” said Dassanayake.
Among other things, Dassanayake is keen to carry on the legacy of former Nepal coach and former Sri Lanka batsman Roy Dias.
“He was my mentor during my playing days. If you look at junior cricket and the techniques and skills of the players it is all thanks to Roy. He has done a great job in Nepal cricket,” praised Dassanayake.
Now, Dassanayake has just one goal in mind, to help Nepal make it through to the ICC World Twenty20 2012.
“It will be the best thing for Nepal cricket. If Nepal goes through to international arena, the fans will be excited. It is an important milestone for Nepal and its cricket. If we make the climb up the rankings it will be a big boost for the sport here,” concluded Dassanayake.