Chief Selector of the national cricket team Sanath Jayasuriya today hinted that they may already have a replacement for the vacant head coaching position, saying that he and others involved in the recruitment process hope to discuss the vacancy with batting coach Marvan Atapattu, ahead of the tour of Ireland and England next month.
Speaking to the media at a briefing, meant to address questions regarding the selections for the two of the upcoming series but which soon spiralled into the topic of finding a new coach, Jayasuriya was non-committal when asked if Sri Lanka Cricket had approached Atapattu, or even if he was being considered as a replacement in a permanent or temporary capacity, but said that they would first discuss it with the former opening batsman before deciding their course of action.
“We need to have a discussion with Marvan – we need to ask Marvan a few things, and how he feels and how he will do things – we need to have a chat first and decide,” Jayasuriya said.
With the two tours just under two weeks away – the tour of Ireland begins on May 6 – Sri Lanka Cricket have been left searching for a new head coach, after Paul Farbrace resigned this week.
Farbrace quit following an approach by the England Wales Cricket Board, who were keen for him to serve as their deputy coach, having appointed Peter Moores as head coach, following the 5-0 Ashes defeat in Australia last year, and the dismal performance in the World T20 this year.
Farbrace was on six-month probation which afforded him an early release from his duties to SLC, without having to pay compensation.
“This is an unfortunate situation, just after winning the World T20 in Bangladesh, that with a tour of England in a few weeks away we don’t have a coach. We can’t dwell on it though. We need to go forward with the next person,” Jayasuriya conceded.
He said the onus would be on the team’s coaching staff ahead of the tour of England, to work on the added challenges that will be posed with Farbrace in the enemy’s camp, with his knowledge about the strengths and weaknesses of the team, and an idea of the initial plans that have been devised so far.
“This is the biggest challenge for us. And I hope the coaching team works with the seniors, around these challenges.”
Meanwhile, Jayasuriya also said that they had decided to relieve Dinesh Chandimal of the role of T20 captain, because the pressure of the added burden had taken a toll on his performance.
“We were confident that Chandimal could overcome the pressures of captaincy when we initially appointed him, and that was why we kept in the position for a full year, but because it was a burden we decided to relieve him of it,” and he expressed renewed confidence in Chandimal’s ability to find his form once again and contribute to the team in the future. He added that he would meet Chandimal in the near future and discuss his future and how they wanted to process with him in the future.
He also said that Lahiru Thirimanne had also earned his new responsibility as the vice-captain in all three formats.
“Thirimanne is player that has proved that he can play in all three formats of the game, and he is someone who can play with the added pressure – players like this are limited, one of them is Thirimanne – so we decided to give him that responsibility.”
Jayasuriya also said that Lasith Malinga’s excellent performance in leading the team in the last three games on the way to the World T20 title this month, exhibited his ability to work with the team and bring out the best in them, and therefore compelled the selectors to entrust the duty on him.