Destiny of progress in women’s cricket rests in hands of Hashan and Apsari duo
Sri Lanka has many ‘firsts’ in its history . the husband-and-wife combination handling women’s and girls’ cricket could be another in its ever-growing list.
The fate of Sri Lanka women’s cricket is now in the hands of former Sri Lanka Test cricketer Hashan Tillakaratne the new head coach of the women’s cricket team , his wife Apsari Tillakaratne who hunted for flair available in very remote areas in meeting school Principals which she did tirelessly until this June when her contract expired .During this period Apsari succeeded in the outstations evolution and fostering cricket amongst mostly the rural schools, Hashan is the Head Coach of the national cricket team preparing them for the international matches ahead.It has been confirmed that via Apsari’s intervention eight young girls were able to be selected to the squad of 17 players.Due to the Covid-19 scare the preliminary qualifying matches in Harare were cancelled before the women’s WC in New Zealand.in 2022.It is learnt that an invitation 50 over tournament for women is in the process of been organized with four teams participating..
Apsari was assigned as Convenor – Women’s Cricket by SLC said that she is primarily engaged with the Development Squad. Added as “My job is to tap the talent at the grassroot level and bring them up to national standards. The players I prepare from the Development Squad are the one that acts as a feeder to the national team coached by my husband Hashan.”
Apsari confessed added we did the Development Squad for two years and 70% of the players who were in that squad are the ones who are playing in the national team today.Of course as in every sport had lost a lot of ground in the past two years due to COVID-19 but is regretted that her bond not being prolonged. As a result, the newcomers are all at home and they have been sending messages to her saying ‘we are getting old, what do we do?’The goal of the SLC is to absorb 20 girls to devise the Development Squad.
Owing to identifying talent there are many players unlike previously the girls were playing against the same opposition players recycled but with new talent surfaced there is severe competition for places a new pathway via the district and provinces without having a school or district tournament. Apsari had added that there a lot of gifted players but because of the pandemic. There is no SLC district or provincial tournament because of the pandemic their growth has been stalled.The talent identified are absorbed into the district squad under competent coaches to groom them further. It is stated that Apsari’s number one priority is the safety and security of the girls.She had given an assurance that the safety is guaranteed which the school Principals have been fully convinced. Currently there are 20 players in 25 districts..The coaches are conducting zoon practices .“
Apsari has the full assistance of the SLC ‘s management to carry out their vision for women’s cricket. SLC has set aside a budget for the promotion of girls’ cricket. Apsari has been given a vehicle and a driver to visit rural areas in the outstations. Apsari had confessed she carry out the SLC’s vision for women’s cricket by launching cricket to the villages sprouting the hidden talent at grassroot levels which she had added was her role which she had discharged impeccably…