Sri Lanka cricket April 19, 2014

SLC surprised by Farbrace's possible move


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. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 21, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    I think the surprise to me is that Farbrace cam back to SL after enduring a possible life threatening attack during the last SL tour to mainland Pakistan. He must be a speciac character to forget about that (and rightly so) and take up ta top job with SL when SL were in limbo. Also I think he would be wasting his time with England.....and having to play second fiddle to Moores although that might not be a surprise. I would also be surprised if SL matched the salary he woud get as England Assistant Coach. The worrying thing is why is SJ going public with this ? He brought-in Farbrace.

  • Varnendra on April 21, 2014, 10:48 GMT

    Despite the successful results Sri Lanka gets still Sri Lanka don't do things the right way. Sri Lanka saves electricity by switching of street lights for example. And Sri Lanka's cricket rarely looked really attractive despite a few individually brilliant cricketers. One can't blame Farbrace. Sri Lanka as a nation requires a serious overhaul.

  • Ashok on April 21, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    Given the kind of politicking that goes on and CSL's limited financial resources, it will always remain a challenge to retain foreign coaches. The long term solution for CSL is to have a Sri Lankan coach for the team.

  • Kanishka on April 20, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    I think SLC should seriously consider getting a local coach if indeed Farbrace is leaving apart from saving money I think someone who has worked with the young guys before and can communicate with them will do a lot of good. The current coaching set up sans Farbrace still looks good so I don't see much of a problem in any case having Sanga, Mahela, Dilshan in the side is good as having any coach. One things for certain this whole saga shows how unprofessional and unethical the ECBs conduct has been. People were asking if the Big 3 could be trusted well you have got your answer it's a resounding NO.

  • Edward on April 20, 2014, 15:56 GMT

    Though a tiny dot in the Indian ocean, we have won two world cups, have reached the finals and semis many times. We play our own brand of cricket. The credit should not go to foreign coaches. They come for our money and not because they love SL. Our boys have natural flair and play instinctively.We had gentlemen cricketers with high technique such as Mike T., Anura T., Roy D., Sidath W. just to name a few. Get one such past great as Head Coach and have specialist batting, bowling and fielding coaches. Also SLC should be run by past cricketers and not by politicians or businessmen. Why should sports bodies report to the Sports Minister if run according to their respective constitutions?

  • Felix on April 20, 2014, 14:35 GMT

    I too feel Hathurusinghe, Rumesh Rathnayake will do a better job than Marvan. Pls involve Roy Dias in the Batting development. Keep Marvan as batting coach but get the help of great Roy Dias. Or Marvan can play a secondary role under Roy Dias in batting. Dear HE The President, please help clean the SLC.

  • ESPN on April 20, 2014, 14:24 GMT

    Bye Farby! Appreciate what you did! It is your turn Marvan. Show us what you can.

  • Michael on April 20, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    It is no accident that no coach stays long in the job in Sri Lanka. I know Fabrace and he has a deep liking for Sri Lanka, it's people, and it's cricketers. He intensely dislikes the interference from SLC officials each of whom has an agenda. That issue was also one for previous coaches. Nishantha Ranatunga in particular makes unsubstantiated statements and never seems to be disciplined for them. Sanath Jayasuriya is doing his best to keep the team together and create the right atmosphere. To some extent, he is swimming upstream. Fabrace is a decent man and a free man. He will make his own decisions. A lesson here which will not be learned by SLC is that too many cooks spoil the soup. Leave the Cricket to the selectors, coaches, and players. Stick to your knitting.

  • Janaka on April 20, 2014, 10:48 GMT

    All I realized in his words, was that he loves Sri Lanka so much. He gave us a hope. And he proved he was the right person. And we love to have him. I think he will not leave us. I hope he will not leave us :(

  • Janaka on April 20, 2014, 10:45 GMT

    I don't think he will go. I have faith in him. He is a great character, and he will not do anything bad. I don't know whether he will do it or not, but that's my gut feeling.

  • No featured comments at the moment.