Farbrace quits as Sri Lanka coach
Paul Farbrace, the Sri Lanka coach, has resigned with immediate effect in order to take up a role with the ECB, Sri Lanka Cricket has confirmed. The development came a day after Farbrace returned to Colombo and met with SLC officials to discuss his position, following reports that he had been approached by the ECB to become assistant coach to Peter Moores, the new England coach.
Farbrace had been expected to have further meetings with SLC on Tuesday, but had sent in his letter of resignation before the board had had a chance meet him. SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said that although the board regretted his decision to leave the role, they had understood the reasons behind it.
Significantly better pay and a desire to work in the country of his birth are believed to be the primary reasons for Farbrace's early departure from Sri Lanka. After talks on Monday, Ranatunga said Farbrace had been offered an "attractive package" by ECB, the likes of which SLC could not hope to match. The salary SLC had offered had been deemed too modest by several high-profile coaches, before Farbrace, who was Yorkshire's second XI coach at the time, was signed by the board.
Farbrace was a little over three months into his two-year contract with SLC. His tenure was marked by off-field upheaval, as much as on-field success. Sri Lanka lost only one out of 18 matches under his watch, winning the World T20 and Asia Cup in that time, but at his time of departure, the players remained locked in a contracts dispute with the board, seven weeks after their previous agreements expired. Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara also clashed with SLC officials over the announcement of their T20 retirements. Farbrace said, however, his experience in the role had not been soured by off-field events.
He had also said he had not applied for the England position, but was approached by the ECB on Thursday, two days before the ECB confirmed Moores as head coach. It is understood Moores had a major say in who he wanted to work with and was strongly in favour of Farbrace.
SLC have not yet worked out the legal repercussions of Farbrace terminating his contract,Ranatunga said. The coach has walked out inside a six-month probationary period, which may mean neither he, nor ECB, are liable to compensate SLC, even though another clause in the contract states Farbrace must give six months' notice before leaving the role.
Sri Lanka's short-term plans have been landed in some disarray by Farbrace's departure, as they prepare for a tour of Ireland and England that begins on May 7. Following that tour, 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. Their plans for the 2015 World Cup will also have been somewhat hampered.
An interim appointment is likley for the upcoming tour, with assistant coach Marvan Atapattu the frontrunner to assume the role. Including two other temporary appointments, Atapattu would become the seventh head coach Sri Lanka have had since 2011. Ranatunga said the board had not yet decided whether to open up a fresh application process for the job.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando