Won't consider Surrey option until January - Ford
Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford has said he will not consider a coaching position with Surrey until his contract with Sri Lanka expires in January next year. Ford had been linked with the Surrey role, which has been vacant since June, but says the suggestion that he is a favourite to take over at the county is speculation.
"During the Champions Trophy I was informally asked by the Surrey CEO if I would consider their vacant position," Ford said. "My reply was that my Sri Lanka contract finished in January 2014 and would consider all options available to me from there on. I have had no further discussions with Surrey and believe that there is no foundation to the story."
SLC officials had said earlier that Ford had not approached them about finishing early with Sri Lanka. "We have not had any indication of that sort so far," said secretary Nishantha Ranatunga, with SLC president Jayantha Dharmadasa adding that the board was not unhappy with Ford's work with the national side.
Ford has strong ties with Kevin Pietersen, who plays for Surrey, and was the man the latter endorsed to take over the England coaching job after Pietersen's turmoil with Peter Moores ended with Moores' sacking in 2009. A move to Surrey will also strengthen the county's South African connection, with Graeme Smith having signed on as captain until 2015. Ford also has county experience under his belt, having been Kent's director of cricket.
Ford became Sri Lanka head coach in January 2012, after Geoff Marsh was sacked from the position. Sri Lanka won their first Test series in almost three years, and progressed to the final of the World Twenty20 during Ford's tenure, but were also whitewashed 3-0 in a Test series in Australia.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here