By Nick Creely
Former Sri Lankan international quick Prabath Nissanka will officially coach Casey South-Melbourne in 2017/18, after two seasons as the club’s bowling coach.
The 36-year-old, who played four Test matches and 23 ODI’s for Sri Lanka before injury ravaged his career, is set to inherit a playing list on the verge of sustained success and a team stocked up with young and exciting talent.
He is perhaps best known for taking 4/12 against Canada in the 2003 World Cup – a man-of-the-match performance that saw the Sri Lankans bowl them out for just 36 in what was the shortest game in World Cup history.
Nissanka began his journey through coaching as a fitness trainer for the Sri Lankan under-19s after retiring from professional cricket, before becoming the country’s bowling coach, working with legends Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas during their peak years.
In need of a fresh start, Nissanka moved to Australia in 2013, settling in Narre Warren with his young family, and to further continue development as one of the world’s most promising skill coaches.
In an interview with Star News Group in November 2016, Nissanka was full of praise for the club based out of Casey Fields, and gave an indication of the kind of club and playing group he is now going to inherit.
“The club culture is strong, and it’s a great place – let’s face it, the players, the coaching staff and the management, they all have great communication and we talk to the community, that’s the key,” he said.
“We give players opportunity in comparison to other clubs in the competition – we don’t discriminate, we are happy to have anyone come down to the club and give it a go.
“We have limited, but competitive players – if you fail, you get another chance.”
He will now get the chance to continue his impressive work with quick bowlers Brendan Rose, Nathan Lambden, Jackson Fry and Leigh Diston, who have flourished since he joined the club.
Casey president Ross Hibbins said that after a lengthy process, Prabath ticked all the boxes they were looking for.
“He has been at the club for two seasons and has worked very hard with our bowlers – (He) deserves the opportunity as coach,” he said.
Hibbins said that there were a number of factors behind the appointment, citing Prabath’s “strong desire for success and a passion and understanding of the game”.
The Swans finished in the finals last season as one of the feel-good stories of the Premier Cricket season, before falling to eventual premiers Fitzroy-Doncaster in a tight tussle at Schramms Reserve in the quarter finals.
The club has already lost Second XI batsman Sam Mullavey to MPCA club Heatherhill as its captain, while Kallan Braid-Ball has joined Cardinia in the WGCA.
The club is expected to make further announcements regarding its coaching structure and player signings in the coming months before pre-season.