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

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