Ex-pacer Nuwan Zoysa out to inspire Sri Lanka women

The Asian Age Staff  | c.s. kotteswaran/d. senthil natarajan

Sports, Cricket

Former Sri Lanka pacer Nuwan Zoysa is facing a strange predicament, and it has nothing to do with his on-field job.

Former Sri Lanka pacer Nuwan Zoysa is facing a strange predicament, and it has nothing to do with his on-field job.

Zoysa is the bowling coach of the Sri Lankan women’s team at the World T20 here, and is finding it hard to strike a balance on how to “teach the girls” in an effective manner.

“The cricket part is just fine,” says Zoysa as the team went through a training session here on Monday ahead of their opening match against New Zealand, “but since these are girls, with some of them very young, I have to keep finding new ways to inspire them. They ask a lot of questions. I cannot scold them much, so I try to find out what works out best.

“Men’s cricket is different and one can use tough, harsh words but with them I have to be measured. It’s my job and I cannot slack in it, so sometimes it is just a hard stare. Some of them do not like to be told things in front of the rest, so I sit down with them to make them understand. It is definitely nothing like a men’s dressing room!” says the former fast bowler, who has played 30 Tests and 95 one-dayers.

Zoysa reveals that “there was surprise and a few jokes in the family” when he decided to take up the job. “I was working with the men’s team initially and then I took up this offer. My wife and daughter were surprised and even asked how I would manage! I am going to give it my all.”

Sri Lanka women haven’t seen good results in the past, including loss to India XI in the warm-up game in Bengaluru on Saturday. Zoysa says it is the team’s inexperience.

“They are very good in theory and understand things but forget very quickly under pressure. Sometimes, it is like teaching nursery kids! That is something we are working on. They lack experience, but we are hoping for a good tournament here. It is the big stage and we want to do well,” says Zoysa, who is well versed with Indian conditions having played with the Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League and coaching the Goa Ranji team for close to two years.