Sri Lanka under19s have qualified to play in the semifinals of a World Cup Championship after 10 years. The current administration put into perspective a well thought out plan that has paid dividends for Sri Lanka to be among the top four, in the ongoing competitive Championship.
The squad was selected in June last year. The administrators ensured that the young talented hopefuls are supported with a professional coaching unit. Aravinda de Silva, Naveed Nawas and Upul Chandana were handpicked to handle the coaching unit while a permanent Trainer and a Physiotherapist were appointed to take care of the fitness and injury problems.
The boys were given an allowance of Rs 15,000 each on a monthly basis for their travelling and extra nourishment. The youngsters were provided with cricket gear, clothing and practice facilities similar to the national squad. Kookaburra balls were supplied for practices and the boys were given three tours prior to the World cup. D.S.de Silva Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket paid special interest to the development of the under 19 team. The current Interim Committee supported the cause by allocating necessary resources to realise the objectives of its Chairman, who incidentally was the coach of the under 19 team in 2000 when they emerged as the finalists of the Under 19 World Cup.
The under 19s toured Australia for a five match one day series, to get firsthand experience playing on overseas conditions, similar to New Zealand. Sri Lanka Cricket also facilitated a tri-nation home series involving their Asian partners namely Bangladesh and Pakistan. The team went on a penultimate tour to South Africa to play in tri-nation one day series involving the home team and defending Champions India.
The under 19s have talented all rounder’s, they started the world cup campaign by beating tournament favorites India in a warm up game at Christchurch. They out played minnows Canada and Zimbabwe in the preliminary round with only one blemish so far, against home team New Zealand, who incidentally are out of the semifinals.
An all round performance executed to clinical perfection helped Sri Lanka to comprehensively beat South Africa in a one sided game to qualify for the semifinals of a World Cup after ten years.