Sri Lanka news July 23, 2014

SL coach's tenure extended till August


Marvan Atapattu's tenure as acting head coach has been extended until the end of the Pakistan tour in August, while SLC call for applications for the position in the interim. Atapattu is among the frontrunners to be appointed in the role, but although the tour of England and the present series against South Africa have served as a long audition, SLC's executive committee has decided to open the door to other candidates.

"We'll be advertising the position in this Sunday's paper," SLC chief executive Ashley de Silva said, adding that SLC would have breathing space to follow the process and appoint a new head coach because the team does not have international commitments between August and November. If a coach from outside the present Sri Lanka system is appointed, he will have fewer than nine months with the side, before the World Cup in 2015.

Sri Lanka's acting assistant coach Ruwan Kalpage will also continue in that position until the end of the Pakistan tour. Former first-class batsman Nuwan Seneviratne will assume the fielding coach position, which has been vacant since Kalpage was made acting assistant coach ahead of the England tour.

Atapattu has had some success as head coach, overseeing T20 and ODI series wins in England, as well as Sri Lanka's first-ever Test series win in that country. Sri Lanka have since stuttered at home against South Africa, losing the ODI series 2-1 and going 1-0 down in the Tests.

Former Surrey coach Chris Adams is believed to be among those interested in the job in Sri Lanka, having already worked with the team as a consultant during the England tour. This will be the second time Sri Lanka advertise for the head coach position in 10 months. Paul Farbrace had been appointed head coach in January, but left to take a position with England in April.

Atapattu is the seventh head coach - acting or permanent - Sri Lanka have had in the last four years. The board has had trouble keeping its coaches, in part because coach salaries have been driven up considerably since the advent of the IPL and other domestic T20 leagues.

Coaches already within the Sri Lanka system have also recently been tempted by positions overseas. Senior strength and conditioning coach Mario Villavarayan took the position as Bangladesh team trainer in May, while Sri Lanka's national spin-bowling coach Piyal Wijetunge is also strongly considering a similar role with Bangladesh.

Atapattu was Sri Lanka's batting coach since 2011, and was promoted to the assistant coach position under Graham Ford in 2013. Sri Lanka play two Tests and three ODIs against Pakistan. The Test leg of the tour begins on August 6.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • manjula on July 24, 2014, 18:09 GMT

    I think SLC should stop searching for coaches a while. Like it or not SLC should let Marvan to build the relationship with the players and familiarize with the process. He should be given at least 2 years because short term less than 1-year isn't good enough to show the success. Marvan did a good job so far under pressure.

    In addition, we all know what happened with past few coaching assignments. They all left, leaving much to build. SL did not achieve a long-term success with many turnovers. SLC even lost money on such investments. SLC can save much more than turning off lights in stadia.

  • Anver on July 24, 2014, 7:25 GMT

    Atapattu is not bad & doing a fair job.. for time being this is best option SLCB has !!

  • world on July 24, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    I feel sorry for SL. The all SL fans were so happy when Atapattu was winning in UK . Some fan here were stating that the time of foreign coaches are over in SL . Shame on you SL Fans . Some cricket experts here mentioned that Atapattu has failed to guide younger player as he is not technically correct like Sanga. Please see sangas dismissal on ongoing test series. The fact is that unless all seniors departes you will not get good batsman . Mahela despite poor form occupied number 4 for so many years. Young Chandimal batted down the order. That has affected his performance. Kohli ,Pujara batted on 3 and 4 that too when seniors retired so please drop both and wait patiently.

  • world on July 24, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    I always believe that great batsman are those who play pull or hook shot well . The good batsman can short pitched stuff well . Hence Arvinda is greatest batsman not Sanga or Mahela . Just now Sanga got out again or short pitch delivery on Slow SL pitch . Mahela is another bully . England were guilty not tried short pitched ball against Sanga else he would not have scored run in last series. But you need accurate bowler to bowl good short pitched ball too like steyn, johnson or recently Tall Ishant . Delayed decision of both of them ( Sanga and Mahela ) to retire from SL then more embarrassing it will be. By the way they are not great but good batsman like Ganguly.

  • udendra on July 24, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    The series lost to SA at home didn't do good to Atapattu. Hope SLC has better contractual agreements with the new coach this time.

  • Ruchira on July 24, 2014, 3:46 GMT

    SL need a professional fielding coach for sure. Can't make miracles with Ruwan Kalpage.

  • Dummy4 on July 24, 2014, 3:11 GMT

    SL must prepare green pitches against Pakistan to win since they got world class spinners (Saed Ajmal and Abdul Rahuman). In the middle east, SL won when they offered a green top and lost when they offered spinners friendly pitch.

  • Serath on July 23, 2014, 23:42 GMT

    Attapattu was a good cricketer and a good batsman but this does not translate into him being a good coach. He has failed to improve the batting of the team as seen by the latest series. The team showed poor batting technique even at home. Haturusinghe is doing well as a coach it might be good for us to have him in the coaching team. I personally think Sanga and Mahe should be fast-tracked into becoming coaches. I know this is contradictory to what I said about Attapattu however I believe they will nurture the team and are very technically sound unlike Attapattu.

  • prasad on July 23, 2014, 18:18 GMT

    SL hould replace both Attapattu and Kalpage with foreign coaches because SL need foreign experienced coaches to the world cup. Australian experienced coach will be ideal just like Chris adams did in England tour. Marvan haven't done anything to improve the batting of young players or tailenders in the SL side. Young players continue to struggle as batsmen these days.

  • Michael on July 23, 2014, 15:57 GMT

    SLC should stop faffing about and give Atapattu a two year contract at a minimum.Dithering about helps no one. The fault lies not with Atapattu, but, with the relevant officials in SLC. What more does Atapattu have to do to get the job?

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