By Roy Ward
GREATER Dandenong residents could be seeing a lot more of the Sri Lankan cricket side following their clinic at Alex Nelson Reserve, Springvale last Thursday.
Roughly 250 children and several hundred parents and supporters attended the clinic despite the threat of rain and the Sri Lankan players being delayed in the city due to preparations for their clash with Australia last Friday.
One of the clinic’s organisers, Vernon Tissera of the Young Cricketers Development program, said the whole Sri Lankan Test squad was slated to come back to the area in November or December for another appearance.
“I spoke with the Sri Lankan chairman during the one-day game at the MCG last Friday and he was very interested in our program and the things we do,” Tissera said. “So it looks like they will bring their whole team here next summer for some kind of clinic or event.”
The Sri Lanka side is booked to come to Australia next summer for a Test and one-day series.
The only letdown from the clinic last Thursday was the lack of several leading Sri Lankan players.
The whole squad was booked to attend but only Dinesh Chandimal, Sachithra Senanayake and Chanaka Welegedara ended up at the clinic.
Bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake and team manager Charith Senanayake, both former Sri Lankan Test players, were also on hand.
“The Sri Lankan coach decided to have a major meeting with his players so the main players couldn’t take part,” Tissera said. “But Dinesh Chandimal was able to come and he is one of the best players in the side.”
Coaches from Cricket Australia and Cricket Victoria also attended along with Australian women’s player Meg Lanning. The clinic was restricted to 250 players and all got a mini bat and T-shirt.