Former Sri Lanka batsman Avishka Gunawardene has been named Sri Lanka’s Under-19 coach until the end of 2022.
Reecently, Gunawardene was approached by the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) for the post of batting coach however, due to the political crisis in the country, it is understood that he decided to back out of the role.
Meanwhile, reports also suggested that Gunawardene had always desired for a role with Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC).
“The next Under-19 World Cup is just in January next year, so I’ve only got about 100 days to prepare the boys for that,” Gunawardene was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“A lot of these boys haven’t played for the last 18 months [because of the pandemic], so there’s work to do,” he added.
Gunawardene had been Sri Lanka A coach for several years in the past before being suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Later in May 2021, the ICC had cleared Gunawardene of two corruption charges and allowed him to take part in cricket-related activities.
Gunawardene was charged with Article 2.1.4 – Directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, instructing, persuading, encouraging or intentionally facilitating any Participant to breach Code Article 2.1 and Article 2.4.5 – Failing to disclose to the ACU (without unnecessary delay) full details of any incident, fact, or matter that comes to the attention of a Participant that may evidence Corrupt Conduct under the Anti-Corruption Code by another Participant.
Issuing a statement, the ICC had said: “An independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal has unanimously cleared former Sri Lanka player Avishka Gunawardene of two charges against him under the Emirates Cricket Board’s Anti-Corruption Code, allowing him to resume participation in cricket with immediate effect.”
Recently, Gunawardene was announced as the new batting coach of the Afghanistan national cricket team, the strife-torn country’s cricket board had said amid fresh turmoil at home following the takeover by Taliban.
Confirming the development on its official twitter handle, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) had said: “Former @OfficialSLC batsman and coach, Avishka Gunawardene has been appointed as Afghanistan National Team’s batting coach.”
Gunawardene, who represented Sri Lanka for almost a decade, played six Tests and 61 ODIs.
Although he managed only 181 runs in Tests, Gunawardene had accumulated 1708 runs in the ODIs with a century.