KATHMANDU: Members of the national cricket team and fans had been patiently waiting for hours at the Tribhuvan International Airport for the arrival of coach Pubudu Dassanayake on Thursday. When the Sri Lankan born Canadian emerged through the arrival section, he was overwhelmed by the warm reception offered to him by fans, players and journalists.
Cricket players felicitated the coach offering shawls as journalists encircled him with urgency and enthusiasm. With a smile on his face, Pubudu said he did not expect such a warm reception. “I feel completely at home,” said Dassanayake. “I was not expecting such a reception. I am touched.”
Dassanayake, who had planned a month-long holiday in Canada, had returned after two months after being cold-shouldered by the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN). It all started after the national team returned from Bangladesh after playing World T20.
Despite, the national team´s achievement, the jubilation was short-lived as the national team announced protests against the CAN. The team even boycotted the national tournament.
This led to the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority´s intervention before the government pronounced the current body as ineffective.
Dassanayake is not only credited for Nepal´s recent stellar performance in the international cricket but is also heavily respected by the national team members. His influence is such that the players accept his directions as the key to success.
Dassanayake, who is praised by fans and players for his progressive ideas, had openly expressed his bitterness against CAN´s sheer inefficiency. Instead of acknowledging Dassanayake´s contribution in taking the country´s cricket to a new height, CAN´s treatment of the coach had dumbfounded fans and players alike. CAN had cited budget crunch for not extending the coach´s contract.
Later, Dassanayake´s contract was extended by the government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports for a year some time ago.
Upon his arrival, none of the CAN officials greeted the coach. “I have not heard anything from CAN. I accepted the ministry´s contract and invitation letter. But unless the ministry does not make things clear, I am not touching anything,” he said. “I am here to work for Nepali cricket and if the system allows, I will give more than cent percent.”
Dassanayake said he would work toward raising the standard of the team and concentrate on Division 3 and 2.
National skipper Paras Khadka, who had threatened to quit the team, said, “Instead of acknowledging his contributions, our coach was treated coldly,” he said.
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