Sri Lanka news October 10, 2013

Prasad throws hat into the ring

Former India fast bowler, Venkatesh Prasad, has confirmed his application for the position of Sri Lanka head coach, which will be vacated by Graham Ford at the end of January.

Prasad has coached since 2006, and has had a stint as India's bowling coach, as well as coach of India's under-19 team, and the Karnataka state side. He currently coaches Uttar Pradesh, and is among at least eight foreign coaches that have applied for the position.

"Sri Lanka are an amazing team with some great cricketers who I've watched very closely for a long time," Prasad said. "They've won a World Cup during my time, and since then they've played a very attractive brand of cricket.

"As a player, and then as a coach, and through IPL, I've had a lot to do with Sri Lankan players - both former and current ones, and they are so grounded and genuine. There's a mix of seniors and young players coming through, and they are an exciting prospect to coach."

Prasad's work with India fast bowlers Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma coincided with overseas successes for the India team, and Prasad said the prospect of working to improve Sri Lanka's fast bowling, alongside bowling coach Chaminda Vaas, was particularly attractive to him.

"Sri Lanka has produced some great fast bowlers, as we saw with Chaminda Vaas, who is a good friend. There is clearly talent in the country, but it's a case of harnessing that talent and developing it. Fast bowling is a challenge in the subcontinent, so building a fast-bowling unit and bench strength is important."

Prasad said he was yet to hear back from Sri Lanka Cricket about the position, but had already formed thoughts on how to take the nation's cricket forward.

"It's not something I've done because there is an opening. There are some great challenges in Sri Lanka and I have the self-belief that, as a coach, I can contribute to the current set up. It's not just about results, but about improving fitness, technique, tactics and contributing to the direction of the team. "

Prasad played 33 Tests and 161 ODIs for India, taking 96 Test wickets at an average of 35.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here