Sri Lanka news November 6, 2013

SL coach race down to Atapattu and Mark Davis

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sri Lanka have narrowed down the choices for the successor to national coach Graham Ford to two - former Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu and little-known Mark Davis, who is part of Sussex's coaching staff.

An SLC release said a panel appointed by the executive committee had interviewed four candidates - three Sri Lankans and one foreigner - before reducing the number of contenders to two.

"Two candidates namely Marvan Atapattu and Mark Davis have been shortlisted for the final interview to be held in due course. The date for the final interview is yet to be finalised."

Sri Lanka A team coach Romesh Kaluwitharana and national fielding coach Ruwan Kalpage are believed to be the two applicants omitted from the final reckoning. SLC had earlier shortlisted five candidates, but Steve Rixon, who is thought have been among them, has since cooled on the prospect of coaching Sri Lanka, SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga suggested.

"The fifth shortlisted candidate didn't turn up," he said. "Probably he is not interested - he has not indicated why."

Ranatunga said Atapattu and Davis would be interviewed once more, "some time in the next 10 days to two weeks", but would not be drawn on what separated the final pair from the field of candidates beyond stating the board was "looking at various aspects". However, chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya, who is part of the committee appointed to nominate the coach, had earlier said the board would prefer a coach who would continue in the direction the team has set out on, during Ford's tenure.

Besides being one of Sri Lanka's finest openers, Atapattu, 42, has been the national team's batting coach since June 2011, before being promoted to assistant coach earlier this year. He also has coaching experience with Canada and Singapore.

Davis, 42, began his 15-year playing career with South Africa's Northern Transvaal province and ended in 2005 after five seasons at Sussex. Since then he has been part of the county's coaching staff.

Current coach Ford cited family reasons for his decision to not extend his contract, which expires after Sri Lanka's away Test series against Pakistan in January.

The board had initially received 11 applications for the role, but SLC then attempted to woo other candidates which it believed would be well-suited to the job. Former India coach Greg Chappell and former Australia coach Tim Nielsen both fielded inquiries from SLC, but did not pursue the role, citing family reasons.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Amila on November 8, 2013, 9:19 GMT

    im sorry , but im not impressed with Atapattu's performances as the Batting coach so far so how can any one give the head coach roll to him?

  • Dummy4 on November 8, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    Think marvan atapattu would make a great coach he would understand the player better especially the language would no longer be a barrier

  • yasiru on November 8, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    we saw what happen to india team when they appointed a local coach ,i think same will happen with srilanka if they appoint local coach because political involvement is too much in these boards.Mark Davis also not suitable for the job because this is a very high profile job and he is just a local team coach without any international experience ,yes some one can say ford also didn't have international experience in form of playear but he had international experience as a coach.We should find some other coach or srilanka cricket will go back to become the team we had in 1999 world cup.if they really can't find give the job to Davis just because he is a foreigner and will not involve in politics.

  • Lankananda on November 7, 2013, 22:32 GMT

    Sri Lankan batting has gone from bad to worse since Marvan is functioning as the batting coach. In case Marvan becomes the head coach we can forget all our hopes for WC 2015. The dominating political influence in in SL cricket will lead us to a second class side for the next decade.

  • Rizvi on November 7, 2013, 20:50 GMT

  • Chatty on November 7, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    Nali_live has posted the stats for the two front runners, and based on that, argues for Marvan as the better coach. What ridiculous logic! This is the kind of fans SL has!!

  • Steve on November 7, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    Atapattu should get the job. It is about time SL pick a coach from their own country. Constant change of coaches will not help SL build a stable team that can express their own style of play. There are too many bits and pieces players in the team and the results are not great either.

  • one on November 7, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    dosent matter who comes to coach SL cricket..i guess as a head coach M.R , as batting coach G.R , as bowling coach B.R and as fielding coach sport minister M.Aluthgamage must selected cos there the one running the show in SL

  • udendra on November 7, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    It's a shame that Steve Rixon didn't appear for the interview. He sure would have got the job.

  • TK on November 7, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    For those who say it should be Marvan Attapattu I would have to ask on what basis? He is coaching experience is limited to the likes of Singapore and Canada he has no real domestic coaching experience either. So far in his tenure it seems our batting has got a lot worse for the younger talents and we are left relying on the old guard to get us out of trouble.

    I can only assume that it is because he is sri lankan which in dealing with the politics is probably the worst thing to be ask Roy Dias. If you want a sri lankan the only one who is truly qualified is Chandika Hathrusinghe. This is a Sri Lankan who was limited as a international cricketer yet has made the transition to coach brillantly and is now coaching one of the Australian states. He can give the right structures and processes that we need yet still understand the cultrual challenges in SL.

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