Sri Lankan ace coaches pupils

TOP Sri Lankan cricket player Dushantha Ranatunga is hitting pupils for six with his coaching skills at Finborough School this summer.Originally due in Suffolk to start a summer's coaching for Battisford Cricket Club and Finborough School in April, 'Rana' arrived a little late, in May.

Stuart Watson

TOP Sri Lankan cricket player Dushantha Ranatunga is hitting pupils for six with his coaching skills at Finborough School this summer.

Originally due in Suffolk to start a summer's coaching for Battisford Cricket Club and Finborough School in April, 'Rana' arrived a little late, in May.

However, he was quickly forgiven - the delay due to the 27-year-old reaching the final trials for his national squad.


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In a unique link between cricket club and school, Rana and his wife Manori will be based at Finborough School until mid-September.

It is the third year Battisford has had a professional at the club for the season and it is Rana's second season with Battisford.

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As well as coaching the whole range of players at the cricket club, Rana will be coaching pupils at Finborough for another season and also helping out with other duties around the school.

“Rana's coaching skills are fantastic,” said Simon Sinclair, director of sport and operations at Finborough School. “The pupils just love having him here.

“Our link with Battisford incorporates us being their main sponsor for this season. Battisford is a thriving cricket club with an excellent youth section, which some of our pupils are already involved in.

“Rana was at Battisford last year and was introduced to us by Nick Crame, who has been doing incredible work in recruiting players, and we were keen to have him back at the school this year as specialist cricket coach.

“We hope that we can help the club produce some talented young cricket stars and also give our pupils more opportunities to play.”

Nick Crame, first team captain and secretary at Battisford Cricket Club, said: “We certainly take an innovative approach for a village club and the school is following on a similar path. We have this dynamism and so does Finborough. It is really all about synergies.”

Rana, who works as a cricket coach at the Ragama Cricket Club Academy in Sri Lanka, said: “I am really pleased to be back in Suffolk.

“As well as working with the good players, I enjoy encouraging the less able players by making sure cricket is a fun game.”

As head coach at Battisford, Rana will be coaching under-15s on Mondays, ladies on Tuesdays, under-11s on Thursdays and adults on Fridays.

The club has a total of 200 members, including 140 juniors, and plays in the Hunts County Bats Suffolk Cricket League, Division One and Four, Suffolk Premier League and Ladies Two Counties League.

Battisford was recently awarded a grant by Sport England for video analysis equipment and Rana will be working with this.

The partnership with Battisford is the latest example of Finborough School's strategy of building links with local sports clubs.

The school recently announced a partnership with Stowmarket Tennis Club to offer its pupils regular tennis coaching and there has been an excellent response to the new Finborough School Golf Academy, which opens in September in partnership with Stowmarket Golf Centre.

“It is good to have this link with Sri Lanka through Rana. I am planning to visit the Ragama Academy and we are looking into the possibility of exchange visits in the future,” said Sinclair.

The links with Battisford involve more than just the pupils though. Teachers Graham Diedrichs and Anthony Lethbridge both play regularly for the club, Lethbridge having played for the New South Wales Juniors in his native Australia.

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