The Sunday Leader

Talent Is There…In The Provinces

Remember I spoke about training the next generation of players to step into the top level recently? I need to elaborate on that subject once more. It was a couple of years ago that I felt the time was ripe to search for untapped junior talent in the distant provinces.

Lasith Malinga

The seed was sown to search for talent which I was optimistic was lying untapped out there. It was with the blessings and support of Sri Lanka Cricket that this was possible and they stepped upto the plate to encourage me. Coca Cola Int. came up with the much required sponsorship and we were on our way.

We focused on boys not yet 17 years of age or who were thereabouts as the target group.

Within five years after training and with the resultant match experience they were going to form a fair part of the cradle that would feed the national squad. That was our intention.
The Aravinda de Silva Academy conducted talent spotting camps in far off districts and pruned the pool to manageable numbers and provincial teams were selected and encouraged to play in the Sri Lanka Cricket’s Junior tourneys. Remember cricket is now played and watched in every nook and cranny of Sri Lanka but the lads from distant areas are confined to playing in their geographical areas and the much required exposure of a more sophisticated set up available in the bigger cities is out of reach. The programme we set in motion takes them through provincial cricket to district level and then to club and hopefully to national level.

We were surprised at the raw talent that was lying out there. Let me assure you readers that the future of Sri Lanka Cricket is not bereft of quality in the years to come. Whole new vistas will be opened to these lads. Recall how players like Lasith Malinga was found. Now had a player like Malinga benefitted from a programme such as this when he was 16 or 17 he would have been honed very early in his fitness and psychological outlook to perform sans injury for a long period of time. This is only one example.

Within the next five to six years the Academy targets to infuse five to six players of high quality into the national team. We aim to take the programme dubbed Provincial Champion to International Champion forward in a planned and professional manner. I am quite confident that we would even surpass our targets.

11 Comments for “Talent Is There…In The Provinces”

  1. Shanmugaraj

    The talent is everywhere if one doesn’t try to promote games that aren’t suited for the Asians of small physique, in the country. This is a country the Great Game has been played for well over 150 years.

  2. hotchoc56

    Dear Aravinda (if you read this)
    I was recently in Jaffna, and chatting with the President of the Jaffna District Schools Cricket Assn and the District Coach, was made to understand that there are several players of great potential, who could be given a break by your organisation. I’m sure the Colombo Clubs would also be interested in such players. I was wondering whether you’ll be doing the camp up there again, and more importantly, bringing a few guys down to Colombo to give them a taste of the big league.
    Suresh Murugaser

    • Aaj

      Sri Lanka sould not accept LTTE supporters on the cricket team.

      • lk

        LTTE is long gone! So keep your racials comments to yourself!!
        Do not encourage any community to take up arms!
        Let it be only in the hands of SL forces!

        • Kuma

          Very well said LK like our dearest Ara’s batting a gem of a words.

          keep up the good work sir ( Aravinda) you remain our hero now and forever.

      • hotchoc56

        I think Aaj should keep his head up where it is at the moment!!

      • Mano

        LTTE is not a subject anymore. We love all Sri Lankans… even Praba’s relatives are welcome …

  3. Hi Aravinda,
    I agree with you wholeheartedly, that we should find and develop the young cricketers from all over the Island. All Sri Lankans, including Tamils. They are also Sri Lankans. Some donkeys like Aaj is still living in the past. They are a danger to the national unity. We must also make sure, the politics is not only merit to get in to the SL Cricket Team. We all agree that Sanath Jayasuriya was a very good cricketer, but we also know his days are now gone. He failed at the IPL 2010. Only the ability and not the past should be considered at selections. And definitely not the political influence.

    • hotchoc56

      Thank you Mr Kularatne! I agree with you on Sanath too. What a sorry sight he is! Having said that, he’ll probably fire for one match and retain his place, like he always seems to do recently!!

    • Mano

      Yeah Sana is gone now. See the other lefthander who replced him in the Mumbai Indians , wow that reminds me of Sana when he was 22 or so. Sri Lanka take a leaf out of Mumbai Indian and let Sana retire and work full time in politics. IPL 4 will not see much demand for Sana and his IPL lifetime is also on the line.

  4. SB

    Regarding Hotcho56′s comment.

    I too anxiously request Dear Ara to look into that. LTTE & Prabha are gone and these boys are ours. We are all Sri Lankans.

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