Sri Lankan Asanka Gurusinha is looking forward to seeing how his players fare in competition as he takes charge of his first competitive tournament as Nigeria’s men’s cricket national team coach at the Tri-Series in Kampala.
World Cup winner Gurusinha became the first-ever expatriate to take charge of Nigeria’s cricket national teams in over a century of the sport’s existence in the country when he was appointed by the Nigeria Cricket Federation last November.
The 55-year-old who also heads the High-Performance Unit of the Federation has since his appointment been working with players in training camps with the coronavirus pandemic affecting the country’s ability to compete in international meets.
Gurushina will now try out his wards against Kenya and Uganda at the tournament which bowled off on Tuesday and he says he will be casting a keen eye to see how his wards transfer their performances from the training field to the competitive stage.
‘’After nearly two years, Nigeria is playing competitive cricket and we will be using this tournament as preparation for the ICC qualifiers in November,” the Level 3 certified coach told NCF media.
“I am looking forward to playing two top sides and competing against them. It is an exciting time and I know it is my first overseas assignment; we will be focusing on each player performing what we have been working on.
“This is the first time I will see the players playing competitive cricket and as a team, we will be concentrating on areas we can control and executing our plans.”
Also speaking to NCF media, Yellow Greens captain Joshua Ayannaike echoed his manager’s thoughts about showing up strong against Uganda and Kenya and using the experience well in preparation for the ICC T20 qualifiers.
“Uganda and Kenya are top cricket nations in Africa and our expectation in this Series is to compete strongly with these teams. This is perhaps the best experience a young side like ours can get around in preparation for the upcoming ICC World T20 qualifiers in November,” he said.
Gurushina has travelled with 14 players for the tournament with the squad featuring a mix of experience and youth including members of the history-making U19 team from the 2020 World Cup. Familiar faces Ayannaike, Chimezie Onwuzilike, Sesan Adedeji and Isaac Okpe all feature while leg spin bowler Odion Isesele will be looking to make his international debut for the Yellow Greens.
Following the Series which ends on 18 September, Nigeria will take a second shot at the ICC T20 World Cup Africa Qualifiers in Rwanda from the 15 – 21 November at the Gahanga Cricket Oval in Kigali.
List of 14 Yellow Greens for the Tri Series in Kampala
1 JOSHUA AYANNAIKE (C)
2 SLYVESTER OKPE
3 ISAAC OKPE
4 CHIMEZIE ONWUZULIKE
5 PETER AHO
6 VINCENT ADEWOYE
7 DANIEL AJEKUN
8 JIMOH ABDULRAHMAN
9 PROSPER USENI
10 ODION ISESELE
11 TAIWO MOHAMMED
12 SULAIMON RUNSEWE
13 MUSTAPHA YUSSUF
14 SESAN ADEDEJI