Sri Lanka news April 22, 2014

Has the ECB played an unfair game?

Money talks, and in light of the current shake-up of the ICC, the ECB's act of poaching another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to oligarchic hypocrisy
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Less than an hour after Paul Farbrace's resignation was announced, Nishantha Ranatunga, the mover and shaker of the Sri Lankan board, made a comment that exhibited the feebleness of SLC's present place in the cricket world. When asked what he thought of the ECB approaching Sri Lanka's head coach with a job offer, without consulting SLC first, Ranatunga's reply was docile. "That's another board's issue," he said. "It would be unfair of us to comment on that."

It is a revealing choice of words, because to many, "unfair" would be having a man who has worked intensively with Sri Lanka's players across all three formats and been privy to every scrap of long-term strategy the team has devised, suddenly move to an enemy camp with whom Sri Lanka will do battle next month. "Unfair" might be being left so far out of the loop that, hours after Farbrace had been strongly linked with the assistant-coach position in the English press, SLC's CEO was rubbishing those reports as "speculation and rumour".

"Unfair" may be choosing a well-regarded second XI county coach to fit a slim budget, only to have him bought back months later, after Sri Lanka had facilitated a considerable rise in his value. That Farbrace assisted in the winning of the World T20 and Asia Cup is almost indisputable, but the groundwork for those triumphs had been done long before his ten weeks with the top side. Sri Lanka's limited-overs tournament record is testament to that. It is believed Peter Moores specifically requested Farbrace be installed as his deputy, but it seems unlikely he would have done the same, if Farbrace had remained at his county job.

SLC cannot afford to voice their frustration at the ECB in public, because at present it has the weakest grip on its future of the top eight teams - among the Full Members, only Zimbabwe is worse off. SLC took a surprisingly principled stance on the Big Three takeover in January and February, and now it has the most grovelling to do. Pakistan provided the other abstention in Singapore, but their finances are in less disarray, and they had been surviving without India tours in any case. A much larger population, and hence revenue-generation capability, also helps.

SLC cannot afford to voice their frustration at the ECB in public, because at present it has the weakest grip on its future of the top eight teams - among the Full Members, only Zimbabwe is worse off

And it is in light of this ICC shake-up that the ECB's act of soliciting another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to oligarchic hypocrisy, as Rex Clementine has already suggested in the Sunday Island. The ICC had said the ECB, along with CA and BCCI, would provide "leadership" to the cricket world, in its new order.

Leadership entails some level of obligation to those outside the leading group. A team like Sri Lanka, which, even accounting for gross financial mismanagement from their own board, regularly makes better use of their limited resources than most sides, would presumably be deserving of the greatest goodwill from the game's financial giants. Instead, by "stealing" Farbrace, in Martin Crowe's words, the ECB has actively injured a smaller, poorer cricket nation, regardless of its intentions.

Even if SLC had not squandered enormous amounts on stadiums for the 2011 World Cup, it could never hope to near the ECB's budget for coaching staff. There were more backroom attendants on England Lions' recent trip to Sri Lanka than SLC regularly sends with its national team.

After Farbrace's move had been confirmed, Lawrence Booth wrote: "You wonder how the ECB would feel if, three months down the line, India made a raid for Peter Moores." To align that thought even closer to Sri Lanka's reality, what if, following the victorious 2009 Ashes series, Andy Flower had been pinched from under the ECB's noses, just ahead of the return tour, by CA?

For Sri Lanka, the upcoming tour to England is as big as any Ashes. They have already been done the indignity of having one Test lifted from their schedule and placed in India's loaded lap (and for that, SLC largely has itself to blame). And they will tour in early summer, as they almost always do, when they would clearly prefer to visit drier decks in July and August. Sri Lanka will have hoped the pace their cricket has gathered this year might intimidate an ailing opponent, but the Farbrace switch has levelled the field.

There is no doubt SLC has damaged its reputation as an employer, of coaches and players, over the past few years, and they will now embark on another search, soon after the last, difficult one ended. Yet as the larger nations set themselves to pull away even further financially, pumping up pay not just for national coaches, but for men in charge of IPL, county, Sheffield Shield and Ranji teams, it is the new order that sides like Sri Lanka must become accustomed to.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • rajithwijepura on April 24, 2014, 20:02 GMT

    Paul Farbrace has done nothing for SL to lift the Asia Cup And T20 World Cup. He was and is a below average coach. He just ruined the best chance to embark his name with a much capable team to win the 2015 WC.

  • PACERONE on April 24, 2014, 12:16 GMT

    If in 10 months Farbrace was so good why was he in Sri lanka with all the confusion between the board and players.ECB is always working on other factors of the game instead of putting a talented team on the field.Sri Lanka will have a batsman and bowler who will wreck England.If Sri Lanka hold their catches England will LOSE.

  • RohanMarkJay on April 24, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    @Rufus Fuddlduck you wrote "Sri Lanka have done well in the past five years due to intrinsic talent, grace and respect within the team. The Board was a testing factor more than a facilitator. If they remain together like the Musketeers ... all will be well." Yes you hit the nail on the head regarding SL success, their team are like the Musketeers of 17th Century France, despite the SLC. I blame the SLC as they facilitated these conditions. Because they didn't want to hire a local because it would be a political hot potato for them. Also you can't blame Paul Farbrace for leaving. First its his home country's team also he got a better offer Yes he should have honored his contract But lets live in the real world for a moment.Most people would do what he did Can't blame the ECB either, I wish they didn't do it, but Sky TV and central contracts has bulged the ECB coffers in the last 10 years.Oz just beat Eng back into the 1990s. So if SL beat England this series.SL should thank Australia.

  • james_thomson on April 24, 2014, 8:33 GMT

    While I have a lot of sympathy for Sri Lanka, if they were really keen to keep Farbrace then perhaps they shouldn't have put a six month probationery period, something which cuts both ways, into his contract, or at least cut it short when the T20 World Cup was won.

  • Rufus_Fuddleduck on April 24, 2014, 7:58 GMT

    England are clutching at straws. What Farbrace will do is to create another document on the lines of what was done prior to the Australian Ashes. Sri Lanka have done well in the past five years due to intrinsic talent, grace and respect within the team. The Board was a testing factor more than a facilitator. If they remain together like the Musketeers ... all will be well. It is well-documented that India's team fell apart once Kirsten moved away and Marvel started his educational drive. Farbrace is hardly a Kirsten. Having said that, Shaminta Jayatilaka has a highly valid point - the Board's behaviour created a situation where external offers could entice. Cricket meets corporate culture.

  • SportsObserver on April 24, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    Sri Lanka has limited resources but they are a proud nation. Their unity won them the T20 cup, not that coach. Sri Lanka is better off without disloyal people anyway, honorable people would not break a contract to join the enemy side just before a tour. The best way Lanka can answer England is to go there and beat them on their own soil, I believe this team of proud players will give their all, may be even more than T20 WC. As for the "Big 3", with them in total control, and with this kind of money and power- this is just the beginning, rest of the cricket world has seen nothing yet..... May be next are the players, England already is #1 in poaching players, maybe "Big 3" will give huge contract to all the big names from other countries and employ them to play for their county teams, in the mean time, they will play "small 7" countries and beat their second strength eleven! All hail Big 3!.................

  • on April 24, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    Sri Lanka white-washing England would be a sweet revenge.

  • ms2000 on April 24, 2014, 6:55 GMT

    It is simple to understand. ECB must be thinking that Farbrace did magic for the Sri Lankan team to perform that way. Now they want to save their faces when Sri Lanka tours England this summer . But all I can see is that England will look a schoolboy team in front of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka should consider a coach from India. Ganguly is one of the best!

  • Chanaka on April 24, 2014, 3:29 GMT

    Paul Farbrace is a lucky guy. The SL cricketers made certain that his CV would look good by winn ing the T20 WC. I cant see how in such a short time as coach he could be given so much credit for the team's success. It is time the SL cricket admin handed over the job to a Sri Lankan. Why not give Marvan A a chance. What about Roy Dias if he is interested in th job.

  • Reggaecricket on April 23, 2014, 22:48 GMT

    Farbrace, who was with SLC for such a short time, cannot be credited with Sri Lanka's recent successes. I really don't think he is in the same class as Whatmore, Fletcher, Flower and others, but the ECB might have made a short term tactical move in enlisting him at a time Sri Lanka is about to embark on a tour of England! See, England have had an awful few months and would hate to face the prospect of defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka, so having Farbrace, who is familiar with al of Sri Lanka's strengths and weaknesses might really beneficial to them. So, yes, I do think they have played an unfair game. Having said that, I doubt it will make much difference to the results, as Sri Lanka can struggle with the moving ball in early English summer conditions anyway.

  • rajithwijepura on April 24, 2014, 20:02 GMT

    Paul Farbrace has done nothing for SL to lift the Asia Cup And T20 World Cup. He was and is a below average coach. He just ruined the best chance to embark his name with a much capable team to win the 2015 WC.

  • PACERONE on April 24, 2014, 12:16 GMT

    If in 10 months Farbrace was so good why was he in Sri lanka with all the confusion between the board and players.ECB is always working on other factors of the game instead of putting a talented team on the field.Sri Lanka will have a batsman and bowler who will wreck England.If Sri Lanka hold their catches England will LOSE.

  • RohanMarkJay on April 24, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    @Rufus Fuddlduck you wrote "Sri Lanka have done well in the past five years due to intrinsic talent, grace and respect within the team. The Board was a testing factor more than a facilitator. If they remain together like the Musketeers ... all will be well." Yes you hit the nail on the head regarding SL success, their team are like the Musketeers of 17th Century France, despite the SLC. I blame the SLC as they facilitated these conditions. Because they didn't want to hire a local because it would be a political hot potato for them. Also you can't blame Paul Farbrace for leaving. First its his home country's team also he got a better offer Yes he should have honored his contract But lets live in the real world for a moment.Most people would do what he did Can't blame the ECB either, I wish they didn't do it, but Sky TV and central contracts has bulged the ECB coffers in the last 10 years.Oz just beat Eng back into the 1990s. So if SL beat England this series.SL should thank Australia.

  • james_thomson on April 24, 2014, 8:33 GMT

    While I have a lot of sympathy for Sri Lanka, if they were really keen to keep Farbrace then perhaps they shouldn't have put a six month probationery period, something which cuts both ways, into his contract, or at least cut it short when the T20 World Cup was won.

  • Rufus_Fuddleduck on April 24, 2014, 7:58 GMT

    England are clutching at straws. What Farbrace will do is to create another document on the lines of what was done prior to the Australian Ashes. Sri Lanka have done well in the past five years due to intrinsic talent, grace and respect within the team. The Board was a testing factor more than a facilitator. If they remain together like the Musketeers ... all will be well. It is well-documented that India's team fell apart once Kirsten moved away and Marvel started his educational drive. Farbrace is hardly a Kirsten. Having said that, Shaminta Jayatilaka has a highly valid point - the Board's behaviour created a situation where external offers could entice. Cricket meets corporate culture.

  • SportsObserver on April 24, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    Sri Lanka has limited resources but they are a proud nation. Their unity won them the T20 cup, not that coach. Sri Lanka is better off without disloyal people anyway, honorable people would not break a contract to join the enemy side just before a tour. The best way Lanka can answer England is to go there and beat them on their own soil, I believe this team of proud players will give their all, may be even more than T20 WC. As for the "Big 3", with them in total control, and with this kind of money and power- this is just the beginning, rest of the cricket world has seen nothing yet..... May be next are the players, England already is #1 in poaching players, maybe "Big 3" will give huge contract to all the big names from other countries and employ them to play for their county teams, in the mean time, they will play "small 7" countries and beat their second strength eleven! All hail Big 3!.................

  • on April 24, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    Sri Lanka white-washing England would be a sweet revenge.

  • ms2000 on April 24, 2014, 6:55 GMT

    It is simple to understand. ECB must be thinking that Farbrace did magic for the Sri Lankan team to perform that way. Now they want to save their faces when Sri Lanka tours England this summer . But all I can see is that England will look a schoolboy team in front of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka should consider a coach from India. Ganguly is one of the best!

  • Chanaka on April 24, 2014, 3:29 GMT

    Paul Farbrace is a lucky guy. The SL cricketers made certain that his CV would look good by winn ing the T20 WC. I cant see how in such a short time as coach he could be given so much credit for the team's success. It is time the SL cricket admin handed over the job to a Sri Lankan. Why not give Marvan A a chance. What about Roy Dias if he is interested in th job.

  • Reggaecricket on April 23, 2014, 22:48 GMT

    Farbrace, who was with SLC for such a short time, cannot be credited with Sri Lanka's recent successes. I really don't think he is in the same class as Whatmore, Fletcher, Flower and others, but the ECB might have made a short term tactical move in enlisting him at a time Sri Lanka is about to embark on a tour of England! See, England have had an awful few months and would hate to face the prospect of defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka, so having Farbrace, who is familiar with al of Sri Lanka's strengths and weaknesses might really beneficial to them. So, yes, I do think they have played an unfair game. Having said that, I doubt it will make much difference to the results, as Sri Lanka can struggle with the moving ball in early English summer conditions anyway.

  • landl47 on April 23, 2014, 22:27 GMT

    I think for the ECB to approach Farbrace was unconscionable and for Farbrace to accept the position and resign from his Sri Lanka job was just as bad. A contract should be a contract; the ECB should not have approached a coach under contract without the full consent of the SL board and Farbrace should not have walked away from obligations he freely entered into.

    Having said that, offended as the Sri Lanka fans must, and should, be, to suggest that Farbrace will be able to pass on vital information garnered in his 3 months on the job and thus facilitate an England victory vastly overrates both Farbrace's and (with all due respect) the Sri Lankan tour's importance. There are no secrets about Sri Lanka's cricket that Farbrace will be able to expose and for Sri Lanka this is a short tour at the start of the English season, not 'as big as any Ashes'. That's such an exaggeration as to be comical.

    As for SL appointing Giles and Pietersen as coach and assistant for the SL tour- be our guest!

  • on April 23, 2014, 21:40 GMT

    Bad things happen in life but the kind of 'bad' that happens is mostly driven by the way you decide to lead your life. The SLC Board is no exception to this rule - in my opinion, the manner and timing of PF's departure is the natural consequence to the poor governance displayed by SLC over the past years. One must also recognize that motivations that drive a foreigner to coach a national side are simply different to those of a local in the sense that it's perceived more as a job than a duty. Perhaps one way to avoid this challenge the board should in future either increase the pay package or hire a local coach though I believe that a more professional governing body is needed. It is not enough to cry 'unfair' when the seed of this revolting act by FB was laid by SLC itself but should be a cry towards a change in the cricketing leadership and management style of SLC.

  • DarthKetan on April 23, 2014, 21:04 GMT

    @RFC73 Troy Cooley left AFTER his contract expired. There would be no issue here either if this were happening AFTER contractual obligations were fulfilled. I just hope ECB and/or Farbrace pay some kind of penalty to compensate SL... Also unethical is the timing of it all - resigning and joining competitor camp just ahead of the tour.

  • on April 23, 2014, 20:22 GMT

    @ RFC73 - Your first part is correct. Cricket is no longer run as a sport, but a corporation and like the "world".

    Just further proof that cricket has become more a corporation than a sport. This is just the beginning until soon players from minor countries get poached and it is left to 3 strong countries and a bunch of lower-tier after that.

    Absolute disgrace.

  • zavahir on April 23, 2014, 19:07 GMT

    England are feeble and one of the worst performing teams. So ECB has resorted all other tactics but Cricket, even they have forgotten what Cricket is like many others.

  • londondoc on April 23, 2014, 18:53 GMT

    SL should expose the double standards of the English- had SL or any other Asian country done this to England- there would be a massive hue and cry. SL should refuse to tour England in the summer and instead try and manouvre a series with India

  • Cricket_Only on April 23, 2014, 18:33 GMT

    Sri Lanka, It was not the coach but your players who won the last TWO Tournaments. So, who cares if Farbrace left. You have done magic in the past and I am sure you will do the magic again and beat England in England with their new coaches in the hut. Go SRI LANKA GO...Best of luck

  • SLMaster on April 23, 2014, 18:09 GMT

    What I do not understand is why move to the opposition close to a tour. Sure, Paul had a little hand in SL recent success, but, certainly can give away SL strategies to ENG. I understand Paul Farbrace's position, but not a quick withdrawal to opposition. Why not after the ENG tour? Then it is fair to both sides.

  • crindo77 on April 23, 2014, 18:06 GMT

    Farbrace wants to go home and coach his own boys. Sounds like he made good use of his contract loophole and SLC could only watch. So, boo hoo; cry me a river.

  • LoveLanka on April 23, 2014, 14:40 GMT

    Andrew, there is only one answer here for you question. that is YES..... but what about the timing by ECB? SL is just about to start their tour to ENG and to take out the visiting teams head coach to sit with them withing a blink of an eye? this is why SL,PAK & BAN initialy didn't support the BIG3 version. but the state of their boards made them to do so and by doing so this what they get in return.

  • Lakpj on April 23, 2014, 14:12 GMT

    It is obvious that Moores wants to start his 1st tour very well so that he can silent the critics he has. That could be one obvious reason for getting Farbrace, having someone who has insight info about the touring team and worked with them more recently will no doubt help. As the writer correctly points out when there are lot more qualified people for this post it would have been surprising if ECB had gone for Farbrace if he was with that County 2nd eleven team.

  • on April 23, 2014, 13:44 GMT

    Farbrace has not done anything to SRILANKA TEAM its all the hardwork of SL players. Wait and watch farbrace whats going to happen in the forthcoming series. ECB its very much Unfair.

  • Kays789 on April 23, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    Unfair absolutely. But unheard of, it's not. As long as Farbrace or the ECB pays a penalty to the SLC for not letting him see his contract through, I'm fine with it. What is the point in signing contracts if you're going to jump ship three months later, better payment or not? There have be consequences. After all, people who cannot be trusted for their word cannot be trusted with much else either.

  • keptalittlelow on April 23, 2014, 11:50 GMT

    The strength of SLC's present place in the cricket world will be all too clear when they will defeat England in the forthcoming series, there is no feebleness. SL won the T20 World Cup not because of Farbrace but due to the strength of SL players.

  • cricketmad on April 23, 2014, 11:30 GMT

    Come on Srilanka... Appoint Ashley Giles as coach for 3 months just for the England tour and also appoint KP as his assistant. Lets see how the England like that.

  • RFC73 on April 23, 2014, 10:26 GMT

    NONSENSE! A guy left for a better job, happens in the world outside of sport everyday, why should sport be different from the real world? Besides is it possible that it wasn't money that lured Farbace, it was patriotism? That he wanted to work for his own country? Sport is so anti individual freedom it is ridiculous. It is his right to move. Get over it SL. I had no complaint when the ECB lost Troy Cooley to his own country and nor should SLC here.

  • on April 23, 2014, 10:12 GMT

    SLC should get Hathurusinghe back for coaching, he is the best coach produced by the country.

  • on April 23, 2014, 9:22 GMT

    You would think that there would be a non-compete clause in the contract to prevent something like this happening.....

  • ThirteenthMan on April 23, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    " "That's another board's issue," he said. "It would be unfair of us to comment on that."

    "...a comment that exhibited the feebleness of SLC's present place in the cricket world."

    Feebleness? It said "We are above that". It struck me as appropriately cutting.

  • DMK12155 on April 23, 2014, 7:31 GMT

    Ok whats done is done. Fab isnt to be blamed. Heck... if I was offered a job elsewhere, (bigger company than what I am currently employed for) with one step down my career ladder BUT with 10 times more pay than what Im getting right now and better facilities to work with I WILL TAKE IT without thinking twice. Cash rulz everything around me. Dollar, Pound bills yo. So let the man go. Looking at how poor SLC is right now thanks to brilliant political involvements, only option left for SLC is to get a local coach. Which in return will ruin the Cricket in SL because it will be a political appointment and the guy will have to carry out orders to keep his job. Good luck SL

  • on April 23, 2014, 7:19 GMT

    It is pretty below the belt - pretty unfortunate

  • FAB_ALI on April 23, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    Short answer - YES, its unfair from ECB but not from Farbrace.

  • Rosh1 on April 23, 2014, 7:06 GMT

    When SL won the T20 World Cup I felt what a lucky guy Paul was. He got all the accolades when the ground work was actually laid by Graham Ford. Well what I thought happens to be true as he got a great offer from the ECB. In this competitive World I wouldn't disagree with Paul's decision, but would not agree with the ECB's action on ethical grounds. After all the Englishmen are supposedly great exponents of Ethics, HR rights etc. However, I do not personally believe that the SL cricket team will be affected as the senior cricketers are champions and are capable of handling any situation. As for the younger guys they will work on the weaknesses seeing by Paul as they will know the Englishmen will attack on that. This will only make the weakness to be transformed into a strength. In addition are the Englishmen capable of executing the plan?

  • on April 23, 2014, 7:02 GMT

    Aravinda de Silva for coach..!!

  • Vikum72 on April 23, 2014, 6:27 GMT

    @Chris Silva on (April 23, 2014, 5:47 GMT): Well said. Roy Dias's stint may have been bit premature but now it is high time SL seriously think about a local coach.

  • Vikum72 on April 23, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    Farbrace is no miracle maker...but perhaps ECB already knows that. One think they have miscalculated though is that where other teams may be hindered by such 'under the belt' tactics, Sri Lanka is not. In fact they thrives under such situations. Every time they feel unjust is done, it makes them more determined as a team and gives them courage. I'm afraid a proper thrashing is on the cards for England and Mr.Farbrace himself!

  • on April 23, 2014, 5:47 GMT

    ECB depends on players from other countries and Paul Fabrace became an attraction no sooner SL won the WC T20. PF did admit and say openly that he had little to do with SL AC win and the WC T20 was masterminded by our own players. We did not see anything different in the way of performance, strategy or anything else with our boys who have been in many ICC finals. There were circumstances that prevailed SL winning the finals. Let us not go there and allow ICC to investigate. Best of luck to PF and ECB. Do Sri Lanka ever use players other than those born in Sri Lanka. NO. Do SL need to use a coach not born in SL? NO. Marvan, Vass and others are doing a sterling job and should be given the jobs too.

  • CricketFever11 on April 23, 2014, 5:38 GMT

    Anyway, thank you paul for helping us to lift the T20WC. It is fair reason to go back to coach his home country. How about hiring wasim akram as the head coach. Whoever, hired ECB cannot win the world cup.

  • KK_SL on April 23, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    Thank you Mr.Farbrace for lifting the attitude and self belief of the Sri Lankan team. You did a wonderful job in this short period of time. It's sad to see his departure. SLC should look for a more committed and professional person as the new coach. Also they should give attractive packages for the coaching staff and players by cutting useless expenses.

  • sam_sach on April 23, 2014, 4:46 GMT

    i dont understand one thing, Why SL is not grooming there world class players like Arvinda, Ranatunga, Jayasurya or more recent sanga, mahela as coaching staff.... these guys are excellent classy players with allround skills in batting, bowling and feilding. Why asian teams despite of having talented players around, need to import coaching staff. I think this is very bad mindset of the boards. OR are our former players just happy with the commentary jobs, or being umpires/referee or administrators. I think its high time to look after some former players as our coaches.

  • merandy on April 23, 2014, 4:01 GMT

    @Ramesh Gopal It is not about Fabrace leaving for big money or to be in his home country. It is about un-professionalism and bad ethic shown by ECB. Anyway Fabrace and ECB will learn the lesson that a coach alone cannot build a super team and England will not come to the height within 2 months!

  • shirl on April 23, 2014, 3:43 GMT

    As an Ozzie I see these types of behaviours from the "big 3" as very sad indeed for cricket. This is disgraceful. Poor form by ECB, poor form by Farbrace. As a contractor myself if I broke a contract I would be shunned & rightly so.

  • on April 23, 2014, 3:13 GMT

    The big 3 are more eaqual than the rest of us. So, their conduct is always ethical and fare no matter what.

  • on April 23, 2014, 2:58 GMT

    A lot is being made out of the "perfidy" of Farbrace. Srilanka is in no position to hector and talk condescendingly about morals and values. People forget that the previous tour by Srilanka to England had to be postponed, after dates had been agreed upon by the respective boards.

    Who will want to give up the chance of a higher pay packet and home comfort?

  • on April 23, 2014, 2:55 GMT

    As an indian fan i feel really sad seeing this happen to SLC. SL deserved better. how unprofessional of fabrace, as usual when its something that comes from former colonial powers they stand justified. India, with its financial clout talks about improving the sport, wish the BCCI would have something to say about it. this sets a dangerous precedent. if poaching at such a grand scale is allowed then countries such as WI, Zim, Bangldesh would be seriously hampered. No wonder cricket as a global sport struggles to acheive popularity, with such managements in various boards its a wonder that this sport has survived so long. really wish that the SL tigers put up a top notch performance against Eng. Mr Fabrace, thank god u are not in the corporate world, i would never have wanted to work for someone with your commitment to contracts ( no amount of money can compensate for lack of values)

  • on April 23, 2014, 2:28 GMT

    Sri Lanka will do ok. They just need to believe in themselves. Poor form by the poms though, but what goes around comes around.....

  • Ranga_W on April 23, 2014, 2:22 GMT

    Good piece. Can't blame Farbrace. He is an employee like anyone else. He has a better offer and better conditions. Who wouldn't leave? On the other hand ECB should be more ethical in their approach. They have done nothing wrong in a competitive environment but one would have expected more ethics from English men, here they have clearly failed to practise what they preach. If this is competitive company this would be fair go. But when it comes to cricket council and being a main player in it England has an ethical obligation not to poach a coach without first having a chat with the SL board. It just not cricket.. Having said that SL cricket board is joke.

  • on April 23, 2014, 1:43 GMT

    Well put, Andrew. SLC can justifiably feel gypped; and Nishantha Ranatunga's statement underlines his servile status to the Big 3. A far better barometer of the Sri Lankan sentiment would be his brother Arjuna, who generally does not mince words and has a reputation for saying things as they are. If these kind of incidents start to accumulate it would only hasten the day towards a two-way split in world cricket, where the Big 3 (and any powerless lackeys) comprise one body and the remaining countries the other. For that to happen, (a) SL, Pak, SA, NZ and WI must unite and (b) A sufficiently large funding base must be identified and secured for the "Small 5". (b) could very well be some rich benefactor not unlike Mr. Stanford (although obviously not as corrupt). With sufficient restrictions on player movement, the Big 3 will soon find that they may not have as much drawing power as they thought they had, even though India will have the deepest pockets for the foreseeable future.

  • noplay on April 23, 2014, 1:30 GMT

    This is a very sad story. Nothing SLC has done deserves this. But it is the way of the world. Small guys fall in line to get crumbs and get their hands bitten instead. I have been vehemently opposed to my own cricket rajahs (WICB) bowing and scraping before the big three, first to present themselves with cup in hand, not saying at any point in time that something is amiss. But maybe the die is cast and cricket is played in a dog eat dog world.

  • on April 23, 2014, 1:18 GMT

    lol . The little country that regularly beats the giants at their own game ,

  • whyowhy on April 23, 2014, 1:11 GMT

    SLC should appoint Mahela as Player/Coach.......as a disciplinary action........!!! Mahela's strategies did far more for the team recently than Farbrace did or will ever do. We never even saw or felt Farbrace's presence behind the team..........

  • cheatsdontprosper on April 23, 2014, 1:10 GMT

    Well it never helped India when they employed Duncan Fletcher appointed as the coach of the India cricket team on 27 April 2011, OBVIOUSLY Fletcher was a Free Agent and Paul Farbrace was still under contract with the SLC board. I think this is Poor form by the ECB really how much do the ECB fear the SLC ??? i am not sure about this ????? Question number 1 . Does the ECB really need Paul's input or Ideas or insiders knowledge ?? Q2. Has the ECB done this to unsettle the SLC when they tour England this summer ?? I for one am a bit cynical of the ECB'S BEHAVIOR in the past and at present , i do not believe they need to do this kind of underhand tactics to win games.

  • on April 23, 2014, 1:08 GMT

    Don't get angry, get even! Appoint a local coach and hire Shane Warne to be a consultant on the tour of England. Then proceed to beat them at home......

  • couchpundit on April 23, 2014, 0:02 GMT

    I guess one former Australian who was tapped for Coaching SriLanka will be Laughing hysterically. What goes around comes around..... BCCI was at receiving end from Australia and England Administration since 1960's....now they are giving it back.

    Lol in a bigger picture...everything serves itself well.

  • on April 22, 2014, 23:57 GMT

    Well-written, Andrew. It certainly does seem unfair mainly because of next month's England tour and the 2015 WC in less than a year. Like Martin Crowe said, this definitely is stealing.

    Farby, obviously, didn't have enough time to even settle down in the time Sri Lanka took to sweep up the Asia Cup and T20 WC but he might have been instrumental in getting us over the final-hoodoo i.e. mentally preparing the players. Credit to him for that.

    He was hired as he worked well with youngsters and was expected to prepare the new, young bunch of players for the future, as our seniors are retiring. In what would most probably be Mahela, Sanga and some other seniors' last England tour, the coach decides to join the enemy! Chaos at SLC is inevitable before a major series/tournament, apparently. Hope this won't have a drastic effect on the young players.

    However, for England, it's funny if they think that a coach magically wins games for a team. Looking forward to seeing England win the next WC.

  • dkscotland on April 22, 2014, 23:50 GMT

    I feel very sorry for SL. Many in Britain complain about India using their power (relative to us) to get their own way, yet here we are doing the exactly same to a board where we have the advantage.

    However, they could do a lot worse than look again at Sussex No2 Mark Davis. He got to the last two of their interview proces with Atapattu, though neither eventually got the gig, and I would rate him at least the equal of Farbrace. With Robinson staying at Sussex (who I doubt they would get), it could well be that he would be released to move to the international stage

  • Matt.au on April 22, 2014, 23:43 GMT

    If the ECB couldn't find the decency to consult with the SLC before approaching Farbrace and it's obviously not written into the 'Code Of Behaviour', perhaps it should be.

    Little wonder why the smaller boards (Those with little finance's) are sometimes mortified at the behaviour of the wealthier boards and often don't trust them.

    As the writer points out, it's a double whammy for the SLC as Farbrace knows the SL players quite thoroughly now and he can help plot their downfall in the upcoming series.

    The terms, 'politically incorrect' and 'bad form' come to mind with this saga.

  • Gravity_down on April 22, 2014, 23:24 GMT

    Great article...understad a coach can be greedy for success driven by hard work and reward...but really disappointing about the greed for more money and the lack of regard for ethical principals. Challenge for SL is now to find the right choice and not the safe choice...that means looking for the passionate and a ethical coach that that is driven by results and not by greed or someone who takes the job because thats the best job currently going around.

  • jj0685 on April 22, 2014, 23:14 GMT

    I believe Sri Lanka will come thru' this adversity a much stronger and tougher team and will thrash England in the upcoming series. As long as Sanga and Mahela are in the team who really needs a coach.

  • wazza85 on April 22, 2014, 22:27 GMT

    i agree with that fact that SL has tarnished their name in the coaching world.

  • Mr_Anonymous on April 22, 2014, 20:26 GMT

    It is disappointing that Farbrace is leaving to coach the England side. I think as a matter of principle and fairness, he should not join the English coaching setup until after Sri Lanka's tour of England is completed. I do think that the SLC board needs to take its share of the blame as well. Either they should have hired Paul Farbrace full time (without probation) for 1 year and then decided whether they wanted to renew the contract or not or not chosen Paul Farbrace at all (either they had faith in him or they did not). Also, they could have had a contract where they clearly identified a financial penalty in case Paul Farbrace decided to leave while he was in the 6-month probationary period.

  • KingOwl on April 22, 2014, 20:25 GMT

    England gives 'leadership' to cricket the same way the US gives 'leadership' to the world. I applaud Andrew's forthright comments. I hope the Cricinfo guys will not start going after his job. But SL can hold its head high because it was England who displayed the lowly behavior. I think Andrew is giving too much credit to the coach for SL's recent performance though. Sure, it would have had some small impact. But, SL are always in contention for major tournaments, and the fact that SL overcame the final hurdle is just a matter of many things going right.

  • surgeon101 on April 22, 2014, 20:04 GMT

    i'm not worried about Fabrace leaving...he was not the reason sri lanka won recently...that ground work had already been done by graham ford. the problem is who next...there are good sri lanka coaches but the problem with a Sri lankan coach is that he will find it hard to be influenced by 'politics', but another foreign coach could pose the same problem....

  • Nadeem1976 on April 22, 2014, 19:57 GMT

    So the power of BIG3 is in front of us now. If we still deny this power then we are fools. ECB did a cruel job here.

  • on April 22, 2014, 19:49 GMT

    Farbrace has hardly covered himself with glory in this matter and nor have the ECB.

  • shillingsworth on April 22, 2014, 19:49 GMT

    Good well argued article. The manner of Farbrace's departure is the worst thing but the timing of it rubs salt into the wound. At the very least, the ECB could have delayed his start date so that he had no involvement in any of the matches against Sri Lanka.

  • merandy on April 22, 2014, 19:09 GMT

    When will this be stopped. Mr. Ranathunga is not only destroying cricket in SL, also the pride of Sri Lanka. How come he says "That's another board's issue," and. "It would be unfair of us to comment on that."It is SLC board and Sri Lanka Cricket issue. When big three suppose to help other countries how come one big three steals like this. I don't blame Fabrace. He said he did not apply for ECB job. It is ECB's greedy and unprofessional conduct. This can be the beginning. What if big three use their monetary power to cancel a series between two other countries and bring one of those countries to play against them? ECB could have easily wait till SL's tour is over. Looks like they are afraid of losing to SL. Now, Fabrace can plan to target all the weaknesses he knows of SL players. Cricket is no more a gentlemen's game.

  • on April 22, 2014, 19:04 GMT

    People come and go and Sri Lanka cricket never fades. Talent is pouring. It is just a time game. Why we are not using our own people for this role? We have plenty. Coaches can't produce great players. Players are born with talent. We have enough talent. Just try to use our own resources !!!!!

  • DarthKetan on April 22, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    Highly unethical I'd say....not just on part of ECB but also Farbrace. It becomes a question of integrity downright - hard to see him coaching any international team hereafter. All the best SL - I hope you wallop Eng in the forthcoming series!

  • SevereCritic on April 22, 2014, 18:44 GMT

    I am sorry, but the job of a coach is similar to any other profession. ECB is entitled to pick the best people that they want for themselves. Farbrace, similarly, is entitled to pick the better job for himself -- we all do it in every other form of life. Is it unfair? Yes. Deal with it and move on.

  • smub99 on April 22, 2014, 18:32 GMT

    Another great article from Andrew - he has hit the nail on the head. This is just a small demonstration of the 'leadership' the Big 3 plan to impose on the rest of the cricketing world. Over the next few years this is the sort of dictatorship everyone can expect. A truly disgraceful move by ECB/Peter Moores, who have clearly done this on a tactical level. While Farbrace has clearly had a positive impact on Sri Lanka, I don't believe the ECB would have stole him had Sri Lanka not been touring this summer. It's sad to see world cricket deteriorate into this mess. I can only hope cricket prevails over the money of the Big 3 and Sri Lanka win the series.

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  • smub99 on April 22, 2014, 18:32 GMT

    Another great article from Andrew - he has hit the nail on the head. This is just a small demonstration of the 'leadership' the Big 3 plan to impose on the rest of the cricketing world. Over the next few years this is the sort of dictatorship everyone can expect. A truly disgraceful move by ECB/Peter Moores, who have clearly done this on a tactical level. While Farbrace has clearly had a positive impact on Sri Lanka, I don't believe the ECB would have stole him had Sri Lanka not been touring this summer. It's sad to see world cricket deteriorate into this mess. I can only hope cricket prevails over the money of the Big 3 and Sri Lanka win the series.

  • SevereCritic on April 22, 2014, 18:44 GMT

    I am sorry, but the job of a coach is similar to any other profession. ECB is entitled to pick the best people that they want for themselves. Farbrace, similarly, is entitled to pick the better job for himself -- we all do it in every other form of life. Is it unfair? Yes. Deal with it and move on.

  • DarthKetan on April 22, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    Highly unethical I'd say....not just on part of ECB but also Farbrace. It becomes a question of integrity downright - hard to see him coaching any international team hereafter. All the best SL - I hope you wallop Eng in the forthcoming series!

  • on April 22, 2014, 19:04 GMT

    People come and go and Sri Lanka cricket never fades. Talent is pouring. It is just a time game. Why we are not using our own people for this role? We have plenty. Coaches can't produce great players. Players are born with talent. We have enough talent. Just try to use our own resources !!!!!

  • merandy on April 22, 2014, 19:09 GMT

    When will this be stopped. Mr. Ranathunga is not only destroying cricket in SL, also the pride of Sri Lanka. How come he says "That's another board's issue," and. "It would be unfair of us to comment on that."It is SLC board and Sri Lanka Cricket issue. When big three suppose to help other countries how come one big three steals like this. I don't blame Fabrace. He said he did not apply for ECB job. It is ECB's greedy and unprofessional conduct. This can be the beginning. What if big three use their monetary power to cancel a series between two other countries and bring one of those countries to play against them? ECB could have easily wait till SL's tour is over. Looks like they are afraid of losing to SL. Now, Fabrace can plan to target all the weaknesses he knows of SL players. Cricket is no more a gentlemen's game.

  • shillingsworth on April 22, 2014, 19:49 GMT

    Good well argued article. The manner of Farbrace's departure is the worst thing but the timing of it rubs salt into the wound. At the very least, the ECB could have delayed his start date so that he had no involvement in any of the matches against Sri Lanka.

  • on April 22, 2014, 19:49 GMT

    Farbrace has hardly covered himself with glory in this matter and nor have the ECB.

  • Nadeem1976 on April 22, 2014, 19:57 GMT

    So the power of BIG3 is in front of us now. If we still deny this power then we are fools. ECB did a cruel job here.

  • surgeon101 on April 22, 2014, 20:04 GMT

    i'm not worried about Fabrace leaving...he was not the reason sri lanka won recently...that ground work had already been done by graham ford. the problem is who next...there are good sri lanka coaches but the problem with a Sri lankan coach is that he will find it hard to be influenced by 'politics', but another foreign coach could pose the same problem....

  • KingOwl on April 22, 2014, 20:25 GMT

    England gives 'leadership' to cricket the same way the US gives 'leadership' to the world. I applaud Andrew's forthright comments. I hope the Cricinfo guys will not start going after his job. But SL can hold its head high because it was England who displayed the lowly behavior. I think Andrew is giving too much credit to the coach for SL's recent performance though. Sure, it would have had some small impact. But, SL are always in contention for major tournaments, and the fact that SL overcame the final hurdle is just a matter of many things going right.