Former USA coach Pubudu Dassanayake will return to the United States to take the reins of Minor League Cricket’s New Jersey franchise, the 50-year-old has confirmed to Emerging Cricket. One of the most consistently successful men’s coaches in international cricket, Pubudu sports an impressive career record, including coaching Canada to the 2011 World Cup, Nepal to the First Stage of the 2014 T20 World Cup, and USA from World Cricket League Division 4 in 2016 all the way to ODI Status in March of 2019. Highly respected by fans and players alike, he stepped down in July ahead of the T20 World Cup Qualifiers, where USA failed to advance in his absence.
Dassanayake’s outstanding resume as a coach is perhaps exceeded by his reputation as an identifier of elite talent, which puts him in an excellent position to influence the future of American cricket once again. Famously discovering mystery superstar Sandeep Lamicchane and advocating for his place in Nepal’s national system against long odds, the accomplished coach has also made similar discoveries for USA, successfully luring difference-makers Aaron Jones, Karima Gore, and Hayden Walsh Jr from their respective Caribbean teams. Walsh, now the West Indies’ primary leg spinner in white ball cricket and reigning CPL 2019 Player of the Tournament, had played with former USA Captain Ibrahim Khaleel on St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the 2018 CPL before joining USA just weeks later. Karima Gore, uniquely unflappable at 22, is arguably USA’s brightest star on the rise.
Pubudu’s inclusion in the league will add legitimacy and fuel the curiosity of fans. The league continues to make waves while its starting date remains understandably in question, acquiring professionals such as former Test spinner Dane Piedt, and fellow South Africans Carmi Le Roux and Willem Ludick. Ludick’s former Central Stags teammate, New Zealand native and left arm orthodox spinner Marty Kain (in California since 2017) looks set to make his mark on the Minor Leagues as well. Fans continue to await the announcement of league plans, as promised by USA Cricket and American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) “towards the end of July”.
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