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Andrew Fidel Fernando
April 19, 2014
SLC has expressed surprise and disappointment "in no uncertain terms" at the news that Sri Lanka head coach Paul Farbrace may be recruited as England's new assistant coach, after the ECB confirmed their interest in Farbrace to SLC. Farbrace is presently contracted to SLC until December 31, 2015 , but it now appears he may not serve out the remainder of his term.
Paul Downton, the ECB's managing director, however, said the board would take a few more days in naming an assistant coach: "We are involved in advance negotiations to appoint an assistant coach but with due respect to his current employers, we are not going to make an announcement today. We hope to make an announcement soon."
SLC had had no inkling that Farbrace may not continue in his role, until British news outlets reported his possible move to England on Friday. SLC officials have since repeatedly attempted to contact Farbrace, who is in England, but these efforts "have proved futile".
In a statement, SLC has said it is particularly disappointed because "the Sri Lanka national team will be visiting England within the next few weeks" for a full tour, featuring two Tests, five ODIs and a T20.
"SLC is currently in communication with the ECB, but have informed them that we cannot progress this matter further until Paul Farbrace establishes a dialogue with SLC, since our contractual obligations are with the individual," the release said.
Farbrace's contract began on January 1 this year, but he only took charge of the team before their tour of Bangladesh, which began on January 24. SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said Farbrace's contract carries an exit-clause, which requires the coach to give the board six months' notice before leaving his position. If that notice is not observed, Farbrace will likely be compelled to give financial compensation for his early departure, even though his tenure is still inside a six-month probationary period, Ranatunga said
In Farbrace's two-and-a-half months with the side, Sri Lanka have won the Asia Cup and the World T20, and lost only one match out of 18, across all formats. Farbrace had not been part of the Sri Lanka team's Colombo reception after the World T20 win, having left the country soon after the team landed.
SLC will face a significant crisis if Farbrace takes up the England position, as they have a full international schedule in the four months beginning in May. Following the tour of Ireland and England, Sri Lanka is set to host no.1 Test side South Africa at home in July, before Pakistan's expected arrival for another full tour in August.
Sri Lanka have also built methodically towards the 2015 World Cup - an event they feel they have a significant chance of winning, given their ODI form in Australia over the past few years - but they must now contemplate the possibility of arriving at that tournament with a head coach who has been with the team for less than a year.
Before Farbrace took over the Sri Lanka job, financial limitations had severely hindered SLC's hunt for a new national coach once Graham Ford announced he would leave the post in January. Sri Lanka's position in world cricket and the board's crippling debt has meant that it is largely only attractive to coaches on the make, instead of the well-established names.
Weeks after accepting the role, in February, Farbrace had said he was "excited" to be working with the team, which featured a band of developing young players. He is also believed to have settled well within the side.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernandoFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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