Coach Pubudu Dassanayake Does Not Rest.

After returning from Malaysia, he took a short break and is now back again, training in
British Columbia & Ontario. Wickets got the busy Coach for a tete-a
tete and get an update on the current happenings in Canadian cricket.

2Q.Coach ,it was a successful stint in Malaysia at the qualifiers; what is
PD: The national squad has started winter training. Indoor for skills and
focusing on fitness by going to the gyms. Everybody has started to work hard.

Q.How’s the U19 World Cup training going?
PD. The Canada Cup basically started last summer. From there, we selected
around 35 players for the winter camp, which is currently ongoing twice-aweek
training in Ontario & British Columbia; we will continue till April. Once
the summer is here, we will be outdoor training for the upcoming World cup
qualifier, which will happen in August in Toronto.

Q.How pleased were you with last year’s Canadian Men’s Senior team’s
Oman Desert Cup and Malaysia performances?
PD. From Oman and Malaysia, book tours played good quality cricket and put
in the hard work. More than anything, I am happy with how the playgroup
reacted to the system. They are hungry; they want to keep winning and keep
doing well. The big tournament is the next one, but I am confident we are on
the right track.

Q. What are the preparation plans for the upcoming Namibia March
PD. We have already started our winter training for the Namibia tour, and a
few programs are going on here. The main focus is the fitness part; the boys
are regular at the gym and have a couple of days of training indoors. We will
have a pre-tour in March outside Canada for 3-4 weeks before stepping into

Q. What strengths will Canada take into that tournament?
PD. We have a strong batting unit, every type of batter in this group. There are
aggressive batters, and few can stay in the increase for long; good finishers and
conditions (spin/pace) can challenge us, and we have enough power-house in
the group. Our strengths lie in the batting group; we are not worried about the
conditions as well because of the experienced players we have in our group.
Our strength lies in our batting.

Q. What potential weaknesses will they have to address?
PD. The weakness is mainly the fitness part that I am worried about, but which
we are working towards very, very hard. He has improved a lot in the last 2-3
months, but there is a lot to go. If we become a fit side, we are in very good
shape to beat any team at the national/ state level.
I have been in these tournaments many times, and I have handled a few teams
before. I have never had momentum like this going to this tournament. We are
all in good shape, hungry to get the ODI status
and all the little plans we have discussed are put
in place. Early in the game, we are looking for
good momentum, and if we can get a good rate
going from the time we hit Namibia, we will be in
a good position to move from there. The group
is working hard towards it, and I am confident we
will get through to this tournament.

Q. On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you
that Canada will progress beyond Namibia to
the next Zimbabwe Qualifier final stage for
World Cup 2023 qualification? What’s the
reasoning for this provided confidence rating?
PD. On a scale of 7/8, up there for moving
forward in this tournament. And the reason for
this is that so many players in this group have been
in this tournament before, and we know what to
expect from there. We see the opposition, and
most of our guys have experience playing in
Namibian conditions. I cannot ask for a better
setup at the moment. We are all working hard,
and that’s the confidence we have.

Q.Who is your favourite in the upcoming
World Cup?
PD. Many teams are doing well. With India,
Australia & England at the top, I like how New
Zealand plays their cricket brand. It’s not about
1-2 players; it is a long batting line-up, a very
decent bowling attack, and how they have played
from the last World Cup. They deserve to win
the World Cup with how they are playing their
cricket now.

Q. Yasir Mohammad talks about your
influence on him from switching from fast
bowling to Leg spin. Have you had such
instances in the Canadian team where you
mentored a player to change his style and
bring more strength to the team?
PD. Yasir is a good talented player. When I saw
him around 13-14, he was a top–left–hand batter.
I liked his batting, and I thought he would play
for the USA one day as a main batter, but later
on, he added leg spin in his bowling because of
his unorthodox way of bowling; it attracted the
selectors of the USA and thus represented the
nation as a leg-spinner. Very happy for him.
I am just too new to Canada, but everyone in the
group is responding to the little changes we have
made. I hope to play the catalyst in producing
many youngsters for the national team.

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