Good experience for youngsters - Geoff Cope
Berine Wijesekera reporting from London
Leeds Headingley, London - I took time off on Tuesday (Aug. 16) to meet Geoff Cope, Operations Director, Yorkshire County Cricket Club for an interview, pertaining to cricket promotion, development and administration in Yorkshire.

Q. Yorkshire's Academy. What's its principal functions. To find and develop players for its 1st X1.
Quite a number of them have played at junior level. One of them is Mark Lawson.

Q. How do you select scholarships on what basis. Catch them at grassroots level.
Scholarships 16 - 19 - eight; 15 -16 - 13, ladies two (17 plus) there are six junior Bros. 2nd XI - overseas two - Phil Jacques. First all-time to score double centuries for and against the "White Roses". The other - I an Harvey (Australia).

Q. What about Sri Lankans.
We will be too glad to have them, but not for test commitments.

Q. Who runs the Academy:
David Bayas, (Director) Richard Blakey (2nd XI) Steve Oldham (Bowling) Kevin Sharp (Batting).

Q. You seem to have close links with Sri Lanka.
Yes. On and off the field - friendly relationships since 1977.

Q. In what way.
Played for Yorkshire and for the MCC (England) as an off- spinner. Toured Sri Lanka under Tony Greig. Played at Galle and Colombo. Won the one-dayers 2-1. Drew the one - off Test at the "P Sara" Stadium.

Q. Who were the other members of the team.
Dennis Amiss, Derek Underwood, Alan Knott, Bob Woolner (now coaching Pakistan) John Lever, Derek Randall etc. Made quite a number of friends. Since then (in January '05, assisted the poor who suffered the tidal wave (Tsunami). Helped through the Lions in Yorkshire in collaboration with Kushil Gunasekera - down south. I love the beautiful venue - Galle Esplanade. Hope it will come back to normalcy.

Q. Any comments about the Under-19 Sri Lanka tour here.
Good for young players to see other countries and also to make new friends through the game of cricket.


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