When I grew up I really wanted to be a ruggerite, says Avishka-by Indika Welagedara
Sri Lanka under 19 cricket coach Avishka Gunawardena
Avishka Gunawardena played School Cricket as a left handed opening batsman for his alma mater Ananda College Colombo 1st XI team in the inter school
‘A’ Division Cricket tournament. Then he also had the unique record of captaining the Sri Lankan national under19 team against visiting England team. He went on to represent Sri Lanka test and one day team with distinction.
He served as the head coach of Sinhalese Sports Club for nine consecutive seasons and was the coach of the winning SLPL 2012 team Uva Next. He has also functioned as the Director of Cricket at Royal College Colombo and the head coach of Sri Lanka ‘A’ team. In August 2021, he was appointed as the batting coach of Afghanistan national cricket team. In September 2021, Sri Lanka Cricket announced the appointment of Avishka as the Head Coach of the Sri Lanka national Under-19 team. Speaking to Daily News Avishka said “My father was a sportsman and so he encouraged me as well, which ultimately made me enter the world of sports”.
“My family has been my greatest support but I wouldn’t be here today without my coaches. Hence I’m always grateful to all of them“.
“I chose Cricket and started at the age of eight because I liked the game and then realised I was quite good at it. From that moment onwards I had a liking towards this fabulous game of cricket”.
“In my leisure time I like watching other sports, especially rugby, and hanging out with my kids”. *“*Throughout my entire life my family stays on the top of my priority list and then comes my coaching and my personal fitness”.
“It’s not hard to be a Cricketer if you love the game but it requires a lot of sacrifice and hard work”. When I think of unforgettable memory in my life, then I should say- holding my two daughters when they were born for the first time in my arms was the best memory to be remembered forever”.
“My favourite holiday destination is a place wherever there’s nature, wildlife, peace and quiet”. “I don’t think there’s one great accomplishment but I believe many small accomplishments have steered me to where I am today”.
“I really can’t name one but a compliment is a compliment, and I appreciate them all”. “I’m happy with all my achievements and how far I’ve come, but there’s still much to be achieved. I’m not stopping from here”.
“I think the greatest lesson the pandemic has taught all of us is that life is precious and yet unpredictable. It has reminded me to appreciate and love the people in my life and to truly appreciate the little and everyday moments”.
“I actually don’t compare myself to anyone”. “I’m happy with all my achievements and how far I’ve come, but there’s still much to be achieved. I’m not stopping from here”.
“Even though he’s not my favourite, but the best batsman in my opinion is Sir Viv Richards. I admire many cricketers for different reasons”. “Thankfully, nothing really embarrassing has happened to me thus far in a cricketing field”.
“I’m definitely doing what I believe in and what I love, which is coaching”.
“In life I would like to describe myself as a friendly and uncomplicated person”. “When I grew up I really wanted to be a rugby player that was my ambition but things change and I became a cricketer”. “The kind of legacy I would like to be remembered as the coach who encouraged young cricketers to play the game for the right reasons and never compromise their integrity”.