Sri Lanka news September 23, 2011

Geoff Marsh geared to help Sri Lanka rebuild


Geoff Marsh has said he is looking forward to the challenge of helping rebuild Sri Lanka's side after the loss of several veterans over the past two years. Marsh, who has been named Sri Lanka's new coach, said he found it "quite exciting" to see the young talent on display during the recent Test series against Australia, when he was in the country watching his son Shaun play for Australia.

During that series, Sri Lanka's highest run scorer was the 24-year-old vice-captain Angelo Mathews, while fast bowler Shaminda Eranga made an impressive debut in the final Test at the SSC. Despite Sri Lanka losing the series 1-0 and slipping to fifth in the ICC Test rankings, Marsh said he was encouraged by what he saw after the loss in the series opener in Galle.

"I think Sri Lanka is in exactly the same position as Australian cricket is," Marsh told ESPNcricinfo. "In the last couple of years it's lost a lot of really good, experienced players, with Jayasuriya, Murali, they've lost Malinga to Test cricket, Vaas. In a country like Sri Lanka that's a pretty big loss.

"But they've still got some world-class players in Jayawardene and Sangakkara in their side, and they've got some good young players, Mathews and co. They have two good spinners. I think they're in exactly the same position as Australia, looking to rebuild a little bit from losing those players.

"My goal for the next 12 months is to bring them on and improve on their performance against Australia. That first Test match, the wicket wasn't a good cricket wicket so it was hard to judge where they were at. But after that I thought they were pretty competitive. We just need to grow on that and consistently improve in all areas."

Marsh arrives in Sri Lanka on September 27 to start his two-year contract, and it will be the beginning of a busy period for the side, as they prepare to head to the UAE to take on Pakistan, followed by a tour of South Africa. He said while it would be a challenge to get up to speed before the Pakistan series, he was happy to put his faith in his support staff.

"I'm going in with the same support team that they've had there. They've had things pretty well organised," Marsh said. "What I bring is a lot of hard work, and working on the basic skills of the game, and good communication with the players and making sure they understand their roles. Basically I'll be giving the player every opportunity I can to help him perform out in the middle."

The job will be Marsh's first international appointment since he resigned as Zimbabwe's coach in 2004, a stint that followed his successful period as coach of Australia. He said international coaching had not been on his radar over the past few years, but the encouraging words of the former Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody, as well as Tony Greig, helped him make his decision.

"It really started in the IPL last year," he said. "I got back into coaching there and I really enjoyed that. I hadn't thought about going back into international coaching, I had a contract with Pune Warriors, but when this came up I spoke to people like Tony Greig and Tom Moody and co, they spend a lot of time in Sri Lanka. We talked about Sri Lankan cricket and where it's been and where it should head. The challenge was there and I decided that was the way I wanted to go."

One of Marsh's most personal challenges will come in the new year, when Sri Lanka head to Australia to take part in the one-day tri-series, along with India. That means Marsh will almost certainly be coaching against his son Shaun, who is likely to be part of Australia's ODI side. However, Marsh said he and his son were used to working against each other, after he coached Pune and Shaun played for Kings XI Punjab during IPL 2011.

"Last time I coached against my son, he scored the most runs in the series and then played in the next Test series and scored a Test hundred on debut," Marsh said. "Shaun was the one who really pushed me to get back into it. He thought I would really enjoy cricket in Sri Lanka and that challenge. That's no problem for us. We've spoken about that. It's always good sitting around the kitchen table over a meal, talking about coaching against him. That's certainly not a problem."

Marsh is the latest in a long line of Australian coaches in charge of the Sri Lanka side, following Dav Whatmore, John Dyson, Moody and Trevor Bayliss.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shehan on September 26, 2011, 18:55 GMT

    @puntertakeson @dinkek RKn- "same one day team will beat Lanka in Lanka" coming from a team which simply didn't win a single match in a series which consisted of 10 matches altogether, what ever the condition or situation is abit far fetched. And talking about 96 and a combined ix playing in Lanka - that's called regional unity. If India ever needs Lankan help I assure you the Lankan team will show up there too. So no, you are wrong when you say the word hatred. What's happening is a country which has a population of over 1 billion cannot digest the fact that a small island nation has performed better. I rest my case!

  • Dummy4 on September 26, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    I have been noticing a VERY sad feature which has evolved VERY recently..a sort of hatred between Indian and SL fans.For goodness sake any article which comments about India's performance/affairs OR SL's performance/affairs is commented by a few Lankan fans in a negative way and viceversa.I think this emerged after SL tour to england.THIS IS QUITE UNNECESSARY AND UNCALLED FOR.Remeber 96 when WI and Aus refused to play in SL and Ind and Pak played a combined x1 against SL in SL.(and i am not for any hatred against Aus/WI regarding that..pls)Just pointing out that Ind and SL have had VERY good cricketing relationship and there is no reason for us to not like each other.and if a comparison needs to be made between Ind and SL it has to be made on the basis of Ind Vs SL matches(God..not again.we have been playing against each other too often) and not regarding how each team played against England in England..Ofcourse matches should be followed..but this just getting TOOO far Pls pblish THS

  • Kalindu on September 26, 2011, 2:27 GMT

    @puntertakeson: Mate its very obvious that you cannot digest SL's performance is far way better than Indian team.We all know Sri Lanka has played very good cricket than Indians with even loss of lots players. Thats ok mate :). & I'm not proud the way SL played against AUS @ home though. & also please note this article is about SL's newly appointed coach not about SL vs India performances. Hope Cricinfo publish this too.

  • Arvindh on September 25, 2011, 17:01 GMT

    @hawkeye30 Even Indian is in transition process we won a test match and ODi series in WI, remember. I can tell you one thing same one day team which was defeated in England,will beat Srilanka in Srilanka. Srilanka should have lost all the teat match in England, thank god rain saved them from complete whitewash. In ODI Srilanka plaayed full team when you compare with India. Thats the fact. Cricinfo pls publish

  • Dummy4 on September 25, 2011, 16:12 GMT

    Will this make the ultimate difference???

  • Dummy4 on September 25, 2011, 10:39 GMT

    conrts boss marsh go ahead.we need y for the future thanks

  • Shehan on September 25, 2011, 9:14 GMT

    @puntertakeson- how ever you may try to draw the picture Lanka did not have a white wash in England. And it seems you are not clear of the word " transition" as I stated. Lanka is playing with a lot of new commers and India is being whitewashed having most of the top players in the side. And don't say harbhajan was injured. He was dropped. We are rebuilding the Lanka team for the next world cup. You guys are still holding on to your star players who might not even be available for the next WC. Again I would like to remind you India did not win a single game in London. 4 tests all lost. Lost the one day series and then lost the 20-20.

  • Arvindh on September 24, 2011, 19:44 GMT

    @hawkeye30 in test majority of player got injured they played match with injury. In ODI its a second string team. They did better than people played in TEST. Dravid played his ODI almost after 3 years. But Srilanka played with First eleven see what happened you people got trashed in ODI and Test. If there is no rain Australia would have won 2-0 not 1-0 in test.

  • Arvindh on September 24, 2011, 18:49 GMT

    @Valavan, Pujara will replace Dravid. Replacing Sachin is not a big deal, But seriously we need find a replacement for Laxman. I hope they would just drop Raina from test squad. Give more chances to Pujara in coming year.

  • Shehan on September 24, 2011, 18:12 GMT

    @puntertakeson - so that's what you call it these days. A second string Indian team. Yes Lanka got beaten not trashed. Lanka played England few weeks before the Indians toured and the Lankans lost one test and drew 2. India got TRASHED in all four games. Let's not compare recent performances for your own benefit. again stop worrying about Lanka cricket. What happens when sachin,,Dravid, laxman,Zaheer,harbhajan,shewag, who are almost at the end of their careers retire. Start worrying about the Indian team as Lanka is already in transition and we are playing maybe not excellent cricket but decent cricket considering the loss of murali,Sanath,Vaas, malinga. Don't forget India is yet to lose a top player. And they will lose them all at once!

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