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Rumesh Ratnayake named SLC's head of fast bowling

Ratnayake previously worked as the fast bowling coach and interim head coach of the Sri Lankan national team.


Ratnayake Sri Lanka Cricket
The former fast bowler will oversee the performance of the board's fast-bowling coaches

What's the story?

Sri Lanka cricket has named former fast bowler Rumesh Ratnayake as their new head of fast bowling who will work closely with Sri Lanka's high-performance centre to identify upcoming talent.

He will also oversee the performance of the board's other fast-bowling coaches, including that of Chaminda Vaas, who is the current fast-bowling coach of the Sri Lankan national team.

"Ratnayake will head the national fast-bowling programme, spearheading its talent identification, skills development, and training processes in cohesion with the national high-performance plan," an SLC release said.

SLC cricket manager Asanka Gurusinha clarified however that Ratnayake will not be touring with the side but will instead be responsible for appointing the coaches that could change on a tour-to-tour basis.

"All the fast-bowling coaches will work under Rumesh," Gurusinha told ESPNcricinfo. "We will then work with the high-performance centre to get the specialist coaches in whenever the national team needs. We will take specialists to different tours. If the head coach says, 'I want so-and-so', we will put a request to high performance and get that coach."

In case you didn't know...

Ratnayake is one of the fastest bowlers to have emerged from Sri Lanka but despite making his Test debut at the age of 18, injuries meant that his career was restricted to just 73 Test wickets at an average of 35.10.

He has been involved with the national side in a coaching capacity as well previously having worked alongside Vaas as a supplementary fast-bowling coach during the 2015 World Cup.

He also served as interim head coach of the national side during Australia's tour to Sri Lanka in 2011.

The heart of the matter

Sri Lanka have struggled in all formats of the game of late and recently lost the Test series against India 2-0 with a match to go.

The woeful run of form invited criticism from former skipper Arjuna Ranatunga who expressed his concern and pointed out to the fact that Sri Lanka were unable to manage the fast bowlers at their disposal properly.

Sri Lanka Cricket will be hoping that this issue is addressed by Ratnayake who will be working with the Fast Bowling Program at SLC's high-performance centre which currently has six coaches.

While the current fast bowling coach of the national team Chaminda Vaas is not expected to be removed from his post immediately, there could be a possibility that different coaches could be tried out depending on the squad chosen and the conditions on offer.

What's next?

Following the Pallekele Test against India, Sri Lanka will be meeting Virat Kohli's side in a five-match ODI series as well as a one-off T20 before heading to the UAE for a series against Pakistan in September.

The series will have three Tests, five ODIs, and two T20Is.

Author's take

It is no secret that Sri Lanka are facing a lot of issues and the fast bowling department is one area where they need to work on. Ratnayake's appointment as SLC's head of fast bowling seems to be a step in the right direction.

It is important though that Ratnayake works independently and does not impose himself on the fast bowling coaches of the national side.

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