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December 20, 2013
Paul Farbrace, the former Sri Lanka assistant coach, has been appointed the new Sri Lanka coach on a two-year contract, starting on January 1.
Farbrace, who will shortly finish his tenure with Yorkshire's second XI, had been one of the original 11 applicants for the job, before withdrawing, then renewing his interest in the role.
He takes the job ahead of current assistant coach Marvan Atapattu and Sussex club coach Mark Davis, who had been the other shortlisted candidates.
"The Executive Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket arrived at this decision after engagement with the committee appointed to nominate the most suitable candidate for SLC," a statement said. "The final decision was made after much deliberation as a selection of Sri Lankan candidates showed commendable credentials as applicants to this post."
Farbrace was assistant coach under Trevor Bayliss from 2007 to 2009, a period in which Sri Lanka rose to No. 2 in the Test rankings and progressed to a World Twenty20 final. He had left the job in order to become Kent's director of cricket, but said he had a "strong affinity for Sri Lanka" at the time of his application for the job.
He was wounded along with seven Sri Lankan players in March 2009 when a dozen gunmen opened fire on their bus in Lahore, Pakistan. He left his post four months after the attack, in which he was struck by a piece of shrapnel in his right arm, and became Kent's director of cricket. He later moved to Yorkshire, stating that he wanted to rediscover his joy in developing young players.
His first assignment will be at the Asia Cup in Bangladesh in February. He will then coach the team at the next World Twenty20, which is also due to be held in Bangladesh in March-April.
Atapattu is believed to have been the strongest challenger to Farbrace in the final discussions. But there were doubts about whether he could establish full control of a side which still features his former teammates Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan. Jayawardene had also been Atapattu's captain from 2005 to 2007.
The committee to nominate the coach had been headed by former Sri Lanka cricketer and club stalwart Ranjit Fernando, and included chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya, secretary Nishantha Ranatunga and head of coaching Jerome Jayaratne.
The current coach, Graham Ford is expected complete the ongoing series of three Tests, five one-day internationals and two Twenty20 games against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
Yorkshire confirmed that they received an official approach from SLC on December 7 and reluctantly agreed to release a man whose work with the next generation of players at Headingley had been widely commended.
"Paul's departure is a loss," said Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves. "His dedication in developing the careers of some of our young players, who are now coming through the ranks, is a major part in moving the club forward to achieve its aims and ambitions."
Farbrace joined Yorkshire as part of a coaching shake-up which saw Jason Gillespie take over as first-team coach in 2010. His return to Headingley will be relatively swift: Sri Lanka face England in the opening Test series of the summer next June."
Yorkshire's director of cricket, Martyn Moxon, said: "Paul has made a huge impact during his tenure at Headingley. He is an outstanding coach and deserves to take on this role with Sri Lanka Cricket. His expertise in developing junior talent has seen him contribute to provide exciting players for the long-term future of the club."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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