With Asanka Gurusinha taking over as chief cricket operations officer from May 15, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will hope to streamline the player production line to take the sport to the next level.
Currently employed as cricket manager and selector, Gurusinha will now be in charge of SLC's 'Brain Center', a facility that collects and analyses player data, and the High Performance Center based at Kettarama.
He will also be head of all cricket operations in the country.
This gives him a wider scope of work as overall in-charge of men’s and women’s cricket, the U-19s and Sri Lanka 'A', tasked with producing top class cricketers to wear the national jersey when required.
“We are comfortable with (Chandika) Hathurusingha. So we need an administrative manager and Gurusinha is a level III qualified coach," said SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala, on the appointment.
"His technical knowledge is so good that we feel he would be of better use in the high performance field."
"There are people at the national level getting injured and they take longer than we expect to recover," he continued. "So our rehabilitation situation is not ideal with some guys taking three to four months to come back. In high performance, we need a top qualified coach and we're happy Gurusinha has agreed to take over."
The Australia-based former Sri Lanka World Cup winning cricketer was enrolled as cricket manager in February 2017 and later appointed to the national selection committee.
He is likely to continue as team manager for the forthcoming series in the West Indies in the event a manager is not appointed in time, but Sumathipala said Gurusinha will relinquish his duties as a selector.
Adding that his top priority will be to help head coach Chandika Hathurusingha in preparing Sri Lanka team to win the coveted World Cup title in 2019 in England, he said he has tough task at hand in getting the team in perfect frame going into the tournament next year.
“The coach needs at least a squad of 25 players whom he could pick at any given time," Gurusinha stated.
"My job is to try and create those 25 players for Chandika so that he doesn’t have to worry about anything else and pick any players out of the squad provided,”
“That’s going to be the path."
One of the biggest challenges the 51-year-old will face is to keep the players free from injury.
Sri Lanka’s biggest obstacle in recent months has been injuries to several fast bowlers including Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal.
“Injuries have been a major issue for us over the last several months,” Gurusinha said.
“The last three weeks, I have been spending a lot of time trying to understand all of that, by talking with Simon (Willis) and physios, doing research and talking to my old physio, Alex Konuntoris and getting his thoughts on what we need to do. The Board has spoken to a lot of others as well. We are trying to see what we can do. As you said, if we want to win the World Cup, we need a fit team."
Gurusinha, a level III qualified coach, said going into the World Cup they might implement certain strategies including resting key players for longer periods of time to keep them fit and ready for the national duty.
“We will be resting players,” he said.
“That’s the best way to manage them. We will look at certain gaps and get their fitness levels up. We might sometimes pull out a player for a month and give him to the trainers and say build their stability and fitness again before bringing them back."
With three tours to New Zealand, Australia and South Africa just before the World Cup in England next year poses a greater threat to its fast bowlers and the administration is keen to have their best seamers ready.
“Going to the World Cup, our biggest worry is the last three tours," Gurusinha reflected.
"We are going to New Zealand, straight to Australia and then to South Africa and then the World Cup. In those three tours, we are going to play on fast tracks where we will be using fast bowlers often. So unless Hathuru gets about 8 to 10 fast bowlers from whom he can pick and choose, we will be in trouble. This is our main short-term plan."
Sri Lanka has been in five World Cup finals, including three T20 World Cups since 2007 but their performance has taken a nose-dive in recent months with consistent injuries playing a major role.
Gurusinha also said he likes the idea of having a separate T20 team to reduce to the quantity of cricket being played by cricketers but said Sri Lanka does not have the required players do so at this point in time.
“It can be a possibility,” he said.
“When I first started, I had an idea of having a completely separate T20 team including a coach, more like the World Rugby 7’s team.
“I spoke to the President and he was interested but then you need to have players to pick and choose," he explained.
"But going to a World Cup, I think we have a high percentage of playing both, specially the bowlers. I am not sure whether we are in a position right now to do that. But that’s something we will work towards."