Sri Lanka news July 15, 2011

Ratnayake named SL interim coach

Former Sri Lanka fast bowler Rumesh Ratnayake has been appointed as the interim Sri Lanka coach for the home series against Australia that begins next month.

"We have appointed Rumesh Ratnayake only for the Australian tour because there is hardly any time to look for another coach," Upali Dharmadasa, Sri Lanka Cricket's interim committee chairman, said.

Former Australia batsman Stuart Law, who was appointed the interim coach for Sri Lanka's tour of England, after Trevor Bayliss relinquished the post after the World Cup, stepped down at the conclusion of the England tour.

Ratnayake, 47, who has played 23 Tests and 70 ODIs for Sri Lanka is presently a development officer with the Asian Cricket Council. "We had to get permission from the Asian Cricket Council president Ashraful Haq to have Rumesh released for the series," Dharmadas said.

Ratnayake, who picked up nine wickets in Sri Lanka's maiden Test victory in the second Test against India in Colombo in 1985, had signed a four-year contract to be Sri Lanka's assistant coach in 2007, but withdrew citing family commitments.

Dharmadasa said that the hunt for a new national coach would begin within the next three months. "We will call for fresh applicants for the post by advertising on the ICC and SLC websites and also in the national newspapers," he said, adding that candidates who had shown interest in the job after Bayliss stepped down would have to make fresh applications if they are to be considered.

Australia are scheduled to play three Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals in Sri Lanka, with the first T20 game to be played on August 6 in Pallekele. Dinesh Chandimal and Dhammika Prasad, who impressed on the limited-over leg of the tour of England and Scotland, will be part of the mix for the Australia series after they have been withdrawn from the Sri Lanka A squad that is due to tour England in July and August. Kanishka Alvitigala and Kushal Janith are their replacements in the Sri Lanka A squad.