England Lions in Sri Lanka 2013-14 November 12, 2013

Mark Robinson to coach England Lions

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sussex's coaching staff is suddenly all the rage. After Sri Lanka's announcement that Mark Davis was on a shortlist of two for their vacant role of national coach, Sussex's head coach, Mark Robinson, has also won recognition by being asked to take charge of the England Lions tour to Sri Lanka next year.

The Lions will play three four-day Tests against the Sri Lanka Emerging Players team on a tour that looks likely to emphasise the longer form of the game in contrast to the side's previous tour there which focused solely on one-day cricket. England will arrive in Colombo on January 27 and depart on March 2. The final schedule will be announced later this month.

David Parsons, the ECB performance director, said: "We are delighted to give Mark Robinson the opportunity to come into the England Lions set-up. This should not only provide him with an excellent opportunity to learn first-hand what the England cricket programme is really about, but also we will be able to benefit greatly from Mark's experience as one of our leading coaches within the first-class game.

"Training and playing competitive cricket in challenging conditions against tough opposition is always a great way for our players to further their individual games, so this tour will act as an important part of developing and identifying the England players of the future."

Robinson, who has been cricket manager at Sussex for eight years, has previously taken charge of the England Under-19 side.

Selection for the tour will take place in mid-December with the announcement of the squad before the end of 2013 before which the performance programme squad, another part of the ECB's development system, will be based in Australia for a month.

The tour will also benefit Sri Lanka as they consider the fringe places in their Test squad ahead of their tour of England in May and June 2014.

Davis, born in Port Elizabeth, faces competition from Marvan Atapattu, the former Sri Lanka opener, as Sri Lanka Cricket decide who should replace Graham Ford, who ended his tenure to join Surrey next season.