By Srian Obeyesekere
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has initiated an ambitious long term 4-year junior national development programme of the country’s under-15 cricket identified as ‘Cub Lions’ with a national pool of prospective players aimed at fine tuning and preparing the players for the 2024 Cricket World Cup.
This concentrated programme will be conducted under the wing of foreign coach Tim Mckenskil, and the activities of the handpicked Under-15 national pool will be identified as ‘Cub Lions’ themed on raising the morale of the players. It is aimed at providing training in diverse areas of the game primarily in building a durably potential squad accentuating on the 2024 Under-19 Cricket World Cup. As an SLC official involved with the programme elaborated, by 2024 these junior players would have graduated to top under-19 potential. The comprehensive long term training programme will focus beyond the technical fine honing aspects so as to also prepare the players to be proficient in conversing in the English language which is a primary requirement in communication at international level including key leadership qualities, discipline and table manners. It will culminate with an assessment examination.
Former national captain Anura Tennekoon and former players Roy Dias, Ravindra Pushpakumara, Sachith Pathirana and national coach Sumithra Warnakulasuriya and leading schools’ coach of Richmond College, Galle Dhammika Sudarshana will assist Mckenskil in guiding the playes.
During this 4-year period these players will take part in local and international tournaments in a progressive build up to top fettle in achieving the desired standards. Selections to the squad have been made from around 600 schools island-wide at the grassroots level based on performances at inter-school, district and provincial level.