Sri Lanka news September 23, 2011

Geoff Marsh geared to help Sri Lanka rebuild

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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

  • hawkeye30 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!

  • 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

  • visualdp 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.

  • puntertakeson 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

  • on September 25, 2011, 16:12 GMT

    Will this make the ultimate difference???

  • on September 25, 2011, 10:39 GMT

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

  • hawkeye30 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.

  • puntertakeson 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.

  • puntertakeson 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.

  • hawkeye30 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!

  • hawkeye30 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!

  • 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

  • visualdp 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.

  • puntertakeson 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

  • on September 25, 2011, 16:12 GMT

    Will this make the ultimate difference???

  • on September 25, 2011, 10:39 GMT

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

  • hawkeye30 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.

  • puntertakeson 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.

  • puntertakeson 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.

  • hawkeye30 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!

  • Romenevans on September 24, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    Lankans goes well aussies coaches, Indians goes well with SA and NZ coaches..its a trend now!

  • Charindra on September 24, 2011, 14:32 GMT

    Interesting. Hard to say how things will pan out but looks promising for now. However I just feel Ray Jennings might have been a better option, with his aggressive attitude and experience. Too bad his current contract ruled him out. But best of luck Mr. Marsh. Really hope you deliver.

  • Valavan on September 24, 2011, 9:16 GMT

    @herath-UK, since you stir up things in India England forum, you will be monitored by some stirring Indian fans. @sachin_vvsfan, who care about pune, who can train a team under yuvraj singh. Its not your business if geoff is sacked or not. Geoff is a team player who can bring the best out of SL individuals. @puntertakeson, you are right SL must quickly asses for MJ, Sanga and Thilan samaraweera, i wont say dilshan, but for a query, does India have replacement for sachin,dravid and VVS, will they even play another 3 years, with the India's current shouw up in ODIs, India just need one paceman to replace Zaheer khan, in other case, India have the right combination, its only about performing as a team is missing in India due to individual jealousies. But coming back to topic, GEOFF MARSH is the only coach who is in the league of TOM MOODY, ANDY FLOWER. Even under Marsh, Zimbabwe looked competitive in 2000, 2001,2002. Cricinfo please publish

  • sachin_vvsfan on September 24, 2011, 8:37 GMT

    @hawkeye30 ,@_MiddleStump_ How about checking the facts before getting too emotional?. I do not get in to this meaningless fights about who is great or who is important. Yes India got thrashed in ENG so did ENG few years ago in IND. I was just responding to a statement from Herath who said "It impressed me with his commitment by immediately resigning from the lucrative IPL job". No he did not resign. The management felt he was too soft handling the T20 team. Thats the fact.

  • RandyOZ on September 24, 2011, 7:43 GMT

    @Herath-UK - "one of the best batsmen Australia ever produced" - you're having a laugh, right mate? I know Aussie coaches are the best on Earth but that is drawing a long bow!

  • nazeemrm on September 24, 2011, 6:57 GMT

    Marsh is talking too much about coaching against his son ! Looks like there is a problem !!

  • Rajeev129 on September 24, 2011, 6:41 GMT

    I think Sri Lankans are the best to team-up with Australia. First Dave Whatmore, Tom Moody, Lewis & G. Marsh. India & Pakisthan should learn from Lanka on how to entangle with their foreign coaches. All Sri Lankans are good listeners, without any egos & great characters. Hats-off Sri Lanka.

  • on September 24, 2011, 6:05 GMT

    Aussie coaches have done a good job for SL like Dave, Tom, Trever. It is time for Jeff. Surely he will find the potentials of rising young players and his duty should be the mind set. SL has no positive attitude in the game when the opposition is playing well. Example WC final. Teams like Australia, NZ & SA have that attitude. Fight till the last run.

  • puntertakeson on September 24, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    @hawkeye30 Are you going to compare a second string players from India got trashed by England in English condition with Srilankan got trashed by Australia in Srilanka. What Sachin_VVSfan said is true. Srilanka has to find new hero in another 3 years by then both Sangakara and Jayawardena will be retired.

  • johnathonjosephs on September 24, 2011, 0:03 GMT

    Should be interesting. If he was anything that Moody was to the Sri Lankans, they will benefit.

  • on September 23, 2011, 22:54 GMT

    sri-lanka will do well under stumpy Marsh .he is a great coach ,the team will greatly benefit by his experience.

  • sabee66 on September 23, 2011, 22:38 GMT

    After Pakistan, I love Srilankan cricketers and their nation, very loving people Marsh and Aussies are the great assets for cricket I am also proud to be an Aussie now

    Good cricket to watch soon every where...

  • on September 23, 2011, 22:32 GMT

    Thank you Shawn! This is great for Sri Lanka. Good Luck Geoff Marsh!

  • bubbageil on September 23, 2011, 21:25 GMT

    I hope Geoff does a good job in Sri Lanka. They're good people with a lot of un-tapped talent for such a small nation - and some pretty gorgeous women.

  • bubbageil on September 23, 2011, 21:18 GMT

    And we all thought he was in Sri Lanka to watch his son.

  • Mutukisna on September 23, 2011, 17:19 GMT

    Congrats Mr Marsh on your appointment to this enviable job. You obviously have experience and excellent past records both as a World Cup winning player and a World Cup winning coach. I think Australia and John Buchanan benefited from the groundwork and foundations you had laid when you left in 1999. But there are some major challenges you will face with SL Cricket. You will have to unearth, coach and select bowlers who are capable of bowling out sides twice in Test Matches, though this is not a major handicap in the shorter forms of the game. Otherwise, our post Murali record of Test wins will remain at NIL unless we play Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. Finally, I hope that you will be able to convince SL Cricket to change their policy, so that all selections are made by you the Coach, the Captain and the Vice Captain in committee from now on. Good Luck Mr Marsh in your quest to bring joy to all Sri Lankan cricketing fans.

  • Dashgar on September 23, 2011, 17:13 GMT

    Marsh will be a good appointment. Any criticism of him is unfounded. He may be on the way to being sacked by Pune but there are always more lucrative IPL or BBL coaching spots that will come available, he has decided to turn his back on that world. As for conflict of interest with his sons, he is a professional. There is no way he would jepardise the team he has been paid to help perform to allow his sons to succeed. He had to battle tooth and nail for his test career. He wouldn't have it any other way for his sons. I doubt they would have a harder task master than their father.

  • RohanMarkJay on September 23, 2011, 16:55 GMT

    Aussie cricketers and the Aussie way of playing cricket is very popular in Sri Lanka. So not surprised they chose Geoff Marsh another Aussie, who was a terrific opening bat for Australia in the 1980s. I think Geoff Marsh understands that Sri Lanka has a lot natural cricketing talent in its schools and clubs, if he can harness the Sri Lankan talent and fast track them to build a SL team for the future. Then he as coach and Sri Lanka will do very well. Here is wishing him and Sri Lanka the best of luck for the future.

  • _MiddleStump_ on September 23, 2011, 15:33 GMT

    lol.. I agree with Drew.. he is a great selection for the coaching role in SL... but lets call a spade a spade... he is no where close to being one of the greatest Aussie batsmen ever (Bradman, Waugh's, Gilchrist. Ponting, Hayden etc?)

    @ sachin_vvs fan... you wish you were impornant huh? :(

  • Gupta.Ankur on September 23, 2011, 14:09 GMT

    I think SL still think that "Aussie" Way is the right way..........and in that process they seem to sign anyone associated with Aus cricket.....

    I don't think Marsh can do much, since Murali is gone and there are no match-winners left....

  • Gizza on September 23, 2011, 14:07 GMT

    Isn't there a bit of a conflict of interest? It is quite common for a foreign coach of a team to play against the coach's country but this is at another level. Two of Marsh's children may be playing against Sri Lanka the next time the teams meet. I guess Geoff will want Sri Lanka to win but his kids to get hundreds which would have to make it quite a close victory you'd imagine!

  • on September 23, 2011, 13:44 GMT

    Match-winners are needed - the last coach didn't get it. Let's see if Geoff Marsh realises the value of Ajantha Mendis. This particular spinner needs to be backed so he can evolve and fulfill his amazing potential. Not many players can change a game and roll through a side like Ajantha.

  • on September 23, 2011, 12:54 GMT

    Geoff Marsh is a fantastic coach who should have been in line to replace Tim Neilson , I think Sri Lanka have got themselves a fantastic coach with much experience and great work ethic .

  • hawkeye30 on September 23, 2011, 12:43 GMT

    @sachin_vvsfan - why don't you worry about your own Indian team who got beaten real bad that it eventually turned out to be a whitewash rather than talking about who got sacked. India could do with a coach. They looked Amateur in England. Go find your self a coach. Best of luck Mr. Marsh!

  • Drew2 on September 23, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    Gee Herath-UK, I hope Geoff Marsh does well in keeping SL a force too................but to call him one of the best batsman Australia has ever produced?? I don't think that he's even in the top 40!

  • on September 23, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    happy news as a sri lankan supporter, hopefully we will have couple of gud cricket years,

  • sachin_vvsfan on September 23, 2011, 11:47 GMT

    @Herath-UK He was sacked or about to be sacked by pune team.

  • on September 23, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    Good Luck Geoff Marsh & Sri lanka..... Will See some good cricket from Sri lnakans in near future against pakistan... Common & Wish u all d very best.....

  • on September 23, 2011, 10:59 GMT

    Good place to start is to make Ajantha Mendis a regular fixture in the side!

  • Herath-UK on September 23, 2011, 10:42 GMT

    It is easy to fall in love with Sri Lanka with its beauty and Geoff is no different.It impressed me with his commitment by immediately resigning from the lucrative IPL job. It shows money will not be a lure for him to be distracted. I'm sure he will enjoy the Sri Lankan job and Sri Lanka will gain immensely from this talented man as one of the best batsmen Australia ever produced as well as his from experience as the coach of Australia. Best Luck to both Geoff and Sri Lanka. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • chandau on September 23, 2011, 10:41 GMT

    Hmmm what about the support staff? Who will be asst coach, bowling, batting, fielding and most importantly physio and trainer. Guess the best we had was with Dav (WHO INCIDENTALLY IS A SRI LANKAN BY BIRTH, BRYDON!) with Alex who now works for OZ team. We need a super fielding coach and a great trainer becoz while the lads have talent its the training that makes the difference in individuals. Our fielding and fitness seem to have gone down, which can be attributed to transitional coaches.

  • muggsy9 on September 23, 2011, 10:22 GMT

    good appointment for Sri Lanka. Swampy knows the games well and hopefully will steer the Sri Lankans in the right direction. I wish him the best of luck

  • on September 23, 2011, 10:16 GMT

    BEST CHOICE! No one better could be appointed! GOOD LUCK GEOFF!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on September 23, 2011, 10:16 GMT

    BEST CHOICE! No one better could be appointed! GOOD LUCK GEOFF!

  • muggsy9 on September 23, 2011, 10:22 GMT

    good appointment for Sri Lanka. Swampy knows the games well and hopefully will steer the Sri Lankans in the right direction. I wish him the best of luck

  • chandau on September 23, 2011, 10:41 GMT

    Hmmm what about the support staff? Who will be asst coach, bowling, batting, fielding and most importantly physio and trainer. Guess the best we had was with Dav (WHO INCIDENTALLY IS A SRI LANKAN BY BIRTH, BRYDON!) with Alex who now works for OZ team. We need a super fielding coach and a great trainer becoz while the lads have talent its the training that makes the difference in individuals. Our fielding and fitness seem to have gone down, which can be attributed to transitional coaches.

  • Herath-UK on September 23, 2011, 10:42 GMT

    It is easy to fall in love with Sri Lanka with its beauty and Geoff is no different.It impressed me with his commitment by immediately resigning from the lucrative IPL job. It shows money will not be a lure for him to be distracted. I'm sure he will enjoy the Sri Lankan job and Sri Lanka will gain immensely from this talented man as one of the best batsmen Australia ever produced as well as his from experience as the coach of Australia. Best Luck to both Geoff and Sri Lanka. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • on September 23, 2011, 10:59 GMT

    Good place to start is to make Ajantha Mendis a regular fixture in the side!

  • on September 23, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    Good Luck Geoff Marsh & Sri lanka..... Will See some good cricket from Sri lnakans in near future against pakistan... Common & Wish u all d very best.....

  • sachin_vvsfan on September 23, 2011, 11:47 GMT

    @Herath-UK He was sacked or about to be sacked by pune team.

  • on September 23, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    happy news as a sri lankan supporter, hopefully we will have couple of gud cricket years,

  • Drew2 on September 23, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    Gee Herath-UK, I hope Geoff Marsh does well in keeping SL a force too................but to call him one of the best batsman Australia has ever produced?? I don't think that he's even in the top 40!

  • hawkeye30 on September 23, 2011, 12:43 GMT

    @sachin_vvsfan - why don't you worry about your own Indian team who got beaten real bad that it eventually turned out to be a whitewash rather than talking about who got sacked. India could do with a coach. They looked Amateur in England. Go find your self a coach. Best of luck Mr. Marsh!