Sri Lanka news April 23, 2014

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

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Sri Lanka have been rendered "helpless" by Paul Farbrace's sudden exit, weeks from their biggest overseas tour of the year, chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya has said. Sri Lanka depart for assignments in Ireland and England in two weeks, and Jayasuriya suggested Marvan Atapattu would be interim head coach for those series, with SLC left with too little time to name a permanent replacement.

Jayasuriya played a key role in signing Farbrace in December, and his selection committee had been set to work closely with Farbrace to bring through a young group of players, in preparation for major retirements on the horizon. Farbrace was offered a role with England last week and resigned from his position with Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

"Unfortunately we are in a pretty difficult place right now," Jayasuriya told the BBC's Sinhala service. "We had to face this problem just as the England tour was set to begin. We are thinking hard about what can be done. Marvan will have a lot of responsibility at this time and the bowling and fielding coaches will also have to bear a lot of responsibility.

"At the moment we won't be able to find a coach quickly, and SLC is in a bit of a helpless state. But these things happen in sport and they happen in life. We'll treat it as an experience, and hopefully the players will be able to turn this into something positive. I trust that they can do that."

There were rumours Farbrace had encountered issues with delays in pay during his 15-week tenure with Sri Lanka, and the past three months had also been characterised by upheaval around the team, thanks largely to a contracts dispute between the board and the players. Jayasuriya, however, said the board was clear of blame for his exit.

"I don't believe those things. Sometimes there are bank delays because of holidays and weekends," Jayasuriya said. "As far as I know there were no serious issues like that, and as far as I know, there were also no problems between Paul and the board. We had tried to make him feel at home here. Maybe not everything was 100%, but they were all things that could be discussed and resolved.

"We're always ready to point the finger at the board, but even when I was playing there were always little issues within the organisation. But these things are readily discussed and sorted out."

Jayasuriya had earlier expressed dismay at Farbrace considering the ECB role without giving SLC "adequate time to make adjustments", but said that after having met Farbrace in person, he understood the coach's decision.

"He had left for a holiday after the World T20. No one expected anything to happen, but it all happened very quickly, after he was approached about the job there. He hadn't undertaken long discussions with ECB, and he returned a few days later to lay out his position to us. We're disappointed, because we didn't expect this at this time. But Paul feels he's made a good decision and we can only wish him well. He did good service for the short time he was here."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sara2a on April 25, 2014, 5:09 GMT

    While what ECB did was highly unethical and shameful, I don't think the SL team is "helpless" in any way... If the SL cricketers could embark on a world cup journey with unsigned contracts, and return home with the cup in their hands, they sure have the mental strength to cope with any situation. With the experience of Sanga & Mahela, and with the support of Marvan, Vaas and Kalpage, SL team is far from being "helpless". They should take this as an added motivation to win the series, and teach the shameless ECB a good lesson...

  • yorkslanka on April 24, 2014, 16:55 GMT

    As many have said, we do not suddenly become a bad team becuase a coach who was with us for three months quits..Dont forget that Farbrace would have learnt a fair bit from us too..We will continue and Sri Lanka will go from strength to strength...

  • PadMarley on April 24, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    Seriously guys!! Do you honestly believe that SL need him??? isnt it better that SL got to know his work ethics as early as this??? Do you really believe that he was a differentiator in winning T20 world cup??? Its much better to go to England with a Sri Lankan coach than going their with an Englishman whom you cant trust!!!

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on April 24, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    I think a lot of Sri Lankan fans here have got it right: given its financial constraints, the only long term solution is to hire a Sri Lankan coach. Surely, a country which has produced so many great cricketers should not have a shortage of good coaches.

  • rizwan1981 on April 24, 2014, 11:57 GMT

    Marvan as head coach is a fine decision - But , we need a competent batting coach , one who has excelled in England , Australia and South Africa- May be GEOFFREY BOYCOTT , Barry Richards or RICKY PONTING would be ideal for a short term assignment.

  • on April 24, 2014, 10:26 GMT

    Why Asian countries always look for foreign coaches??

    We have legends of cricket in our countries and they can also be better coaches if given a chance.

    That would be the way we can respect our countries retired players.

    SL have Jayasuriya, Atapattu, De Silva, Vaas, Murali who can add great value to the team.

    Same for Indian team too, we have great players like Dravid, Ganguly, Kumble who can take team in right direction.

    Why don't they get a chance to prove??

    Only Cricketers should be involved in administration and coaching staff of every team not the businessman and politicians, this is in particular for Team India.

  • Vic010 on April 24, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    Get Ray Jennings in - he needs a job

  • on April 24, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    sl should be thankful. His coaching won ya a wc. He's off to better things. afraid they jsut need to accept it.

  • ms2000 on April 24, 2014, 6:57 GMT

    Why not Wasim Akram or Ganguly for Sri Lanka?

  • vatsap on April 24, 2014, 6:51 GMT

    I don't think SL team should be worried, Attapatu was a committed cricketer who even carried drinks during the 2007 WC, when the team couldn't accommodate him. They should trust their talent more.

    With regards to the SL board, it is a different matter. They should treat their players better first and then expect consistency and honor from others.

  • sara2a on April 25, 2014, 5:09 GMT

    While what ECB did was highly unethical and shameful, I don't think the SL team is "helpless" in any way... If the SL cricketers could embark on a world cup journey with unsigned contracts, and return home with the cup in their hands, they sure have the mental strength to cope with any situation. With the experience of Sanga & Mahela, and with the support of Marvan, Vaas and Kalpage, SL team is far from being "helpless". They should take this as an added motivation to win the series, and teach the shameless ECB a good lesson...

  • yorkslanka on April 24, 2014, 16:55 GMT

    As many have said, we do not suddenly become a bad team becuase a coach who was with us for three months quits..Dont forget that Farbrace would have learnt a fair bit from us too..We will continue and Sri Lanka will go from strength to strength...

  • PadMarley on April 24, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    Seriously guys!! Do you honestly believe that SL need him??? isnt it better that SL got to know his work ethics as early as this??? Do you really believe that he was a differentiator in winning T20 world cup??? Its much better to go to England with a Sri Lankan coach than going their with an Englishman whom you cant trust!!!

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on April 24, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    I think a lot of Sri Lankan fans here have got it right: given its financial constraints, the only long term solution is to hire a Sri Lankan coach. Surely, a country which has produced so many great cricketers should not have a shortage of good coaches.

  • rizwan1981 on April 24, 2014, 11:57 GMT

    Marvan as head coach is a fine decision - But , we need a competent batting coach , one who has excelled in England , Australia and South Africa- May be GEOFFREY BOYCOTT , Barry Richards or RICKY PONTING would be ideal for a short term assignment.

  • on April 24, 2014, 10:26 GMT

    Why Asian countries always look for foreign coaches??

    We have legends of cricket in our countries and they can also be better coaches if given a chance.

    That would be the way we can respect our countries retired players.

    SL have Jayasuriya, Atapattu, De Silva, Vaas, Murali who can add great value to the team.

    Same for Indian team too, we have great players like Dravid, Ganguly, Kumble who can take team in right direction.

    Why don't they get a chance to prove??

    Only Cricketers should be involved in administration and coaching staff of every team not the businessman and politicians, this is in particular for Team India.

  • Vic010 on April 24, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    Get Ray Jennings in - he needs a job

  • on April 24, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    sl should be thankful. His coaching won ya a wc. He's off to better things. afraid they jsut need to accept it.

  • ms2000 on April 24, 2014, 6:57 GMT

    Why not Wasim Akram or Ganguly for Sri Lanka?

  • vatsap on April 24, 2014, 6:51 GMT

    I don't think SL team should be worried, Attapatu was a committed cricketer who even carried drinks during the 2007 WC, when the team couldn't accommodate him. They should trust their talent more.

    With regards to the SL board, it is a different matter. They should treat their players better first and then expect consistency and honor from others.

  • YsaKaru on April 24, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    'helpless' is a harsh word for this situation...Farbrace isn't the everything for our lankan cricket.....

  • on April 24, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    This is the best thing that happened to Sri Lanka cricket. Now we can use our own people as coaches like Marvan, Vaas, Kalpage, Murali etc to get our team moving. What better result can we give to our country than to beat England in England.

  • Balumekka on April 24, 2014, 6:10 GMT

    Andrew, You are greatly mistaken. Please analyse facts before writing rubbish like this. It appears that you believe SL team performances were suddenly improved due to the coach (Farbrace) as soon as he joined, and now SL are helpless because he left. Farbrace is not someone like Whatmore who influenced the team to succeed. He was merely a spectator in the dressing room with all the senior SL players doing planing ect, I guess.

  • anver777 on April 24, 2014, 5:59 GMT

    Atapattu will do a fair job as interim coach & its a good move by SL cricket !!!! All the best for Eng tour !!!!!

  • on April 24, 2014, 5:38 GMT

    hey SLC officials why don't you put marvan atapattu as the permanent head coach of Sri Lanka national cricket team? It will help you reduce cost & make sri lankan coaches to demand them selves. SL won icc world t20 2014 by the talent of their cricketers & some of that credit went for that ass farbrase.so he big headed himself & leave to serve his motherland as a world cup winning coach. If there were a sri lankan head coach when they were winning the world title, wow what a credit & respect would have him gained as a sri lankan, as a team, as SLC!

  • Lord.emsworth on April 24, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    SL are absolutely not helpless. A fairly anonym coach left after a few months... True SL won the Asia cup and the World T20 tournament under his tenure, but as many have pointed out, it hadn't much to do with his efforts. SL is a major cricketing powerhouse right now and an interim coach, Atapattu or whoever will do just as fine until a new coach is appointed.

  • RoshJ on April 24, 2014, 5:18 GMT

    I dont think not having Paul is an issue, in any event he was with SL team only for few weeks..on the other hand it is downright 'dirty' tacticts from ENG..seems this "BIG 3" can only win aginst a side like SL by applying such (?)..ENG you are giving a new meaning to the statement "gentlemen's game"

  • Malik_Murad on April 24, 2014, 5:02 GMT

    I think instead of showing frustration on the departure of a coach, the SL Cricket management should show up the confidence on SL Cricketers that they can perform well even in the absence of a full time professional coach. I believe it was England Board's tactic to pull SL Cricket Team Coach and put them in trouble. However, it is upto the SL Cricket management how they handle this situation.

  • on April 24, 2014, 4:44 GMT

    How can and who on earth can say Sri Lanka are "helpless" with the sudden departure of Paul Fabrace. Did he really make any difference to the team? SL have won World Cups and many other whilst different coaches have been with the SL team. Our boys have got what it takes. Determination, talent and the love of our motherland. We have people like Sanath, Marvan, Vass, Sanga, Mahela and a nucleus of young talent in Anjelo, Thirimanne, and the perpetual Malinga, Dilshan so on. SL will do well. We need not have any person who is not SL to coach our boys. Go for it. Prove the pundits wrong. SL all the way.

  • nothingnew on April 24, 2014, 4:15 GMT

    Peter Moores would be the best option for sl cricket .

  • on April 24, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    I'm not sure if Sri Lanka is in such a difficult position. The recent successes with Asia cup and t20i is mainly due to the talent of the team, and it's not new with .sl cricket to reach big finals. It was only a matter of time that we won one.

  • arvija on April 24, 2014, 4:07 GMT

    It all come down to the things that particular individual values! Of course we would prefer to see a national team coach showing a greater responsibility in making decisions. About the role ECB has played; sorry no point in talking!

    I see this as a blessing in disguise; this should be a wonderful opportunity to make our administrators realize that 'we need a foreign coach to perform well' is just a myth! Sincerely hope Marvan, Vaas and the rest will prove this not just tof the SL Cricket administrators, but to the whole world! The fact Marvan has some of his quality peers as his supporting staff should play a big part in this! Good luck!

  • ground-boy on April 24, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    Peter(?) & Paul coaching combination to end British ODI forty year WC drought. Well that downtown county(?), said to be waited for 77 years to break jinx. I would like to see ENG vs SL final in next WC and ENG wait for the maiden ODI-WC win, much less 37 years unlike the county.Both SL and ENG have enjoyed many runner-ups, SL 2 times and ENG 3 times.. is that correct ? .. in ODI-WCs.

    Don't worry Sana, sudden exits and changes have rocking fortunes...as experienced during last few weeks.. (to be continued....)

  • nothingnew on April 24, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    @Ashleydeselfa , bcos it is sri lanka . Coaches can do more favor for team . if we select someone from sri lanka . he has to bow all the decision taking from slc and sl politics . That is the best point to hire a foreign coach. if coaches , commity members are genuine and fair that is okay . another reason is Sangakkara and mahela played with Marvan .then they should be accept as their head coach ?

  • 210pilot on April 24, 2014, 3:52 GMT

    As a UK citizen but very strong SL supporter I hope SL do win the series in UK and it does seem like opportunism for Farbrace to be taking the "prestige" job of England Coach. SL has so much talent and wisdom in its mature players, it could easily find a coach from SL not overseas. Who knows --if England lose the series and then fire Farbrace maybe they will have to hire a SL coach for England, now that would be poetic justice.

  • SL_Boy on April 24, 2014, 3:01 GMT

    this is wrong to think Srilanka is in "difficult place"

  • on April 24, 2014, 2:37 GMT

    ECB has thanked the corporation of SLC to release the coach! So I dint understand how you can claim to be in a difficult situation? Cricket board and cricket are two different things now in world cricket!

  • Sri_Lankan_Cricket_Fan on April 24, 2014, 1:53 GMT

    It doesn't matter who is the head coach. We will win the England tournament even without a coach.

    Paul Farbrace was lucky Sri Lankan players won the T20 world cup and England thought it's Farbraces' effort.

    Unfortunately no coach on earth can win matches for England team these days. Good luck to Farbrace though.

  • azaro on April 24, 2014, 1:01 GMT

    Another ugly face of modern sport is the situation where a contract means nothing and loyalty to having made a commitment absent. Football is the ultimate in this respect but it seems cricket is following down the same rocky road. Spirit of the Game...HA! Gone with the wind!

  • on April 24, 2014, 0:42 GMT

    He betrayed SLC but as for as I know, Sri Lanka have better coaches at the moment within their team. Atapatu and vas have more knowledge and experience that Fabrace. Sangakara and Jayawerdane have are for better knowledgeable than their former catch. They all have practical experience on the field. They have extensive knowledge and they are capable of applying it very well.

  • gahapanmachan on April 23, 2014, 23:34 GMT

    Helpless? Thats silly.

    If they divert the brilliant SL school nursery and stop rural talent taking up cricket, they will be helpless. Else just keep going as coach is just a coordinator & would be a better one from local knowledge going forward. Vassy is the most useful of all as there's no one better in dollars or pounds.

  • on April 23, 2014, 22:46 GMT

    Sampath, please get Shane Warne as a Consultant. He knows England conditions and how to beat England better than most English coaches. He is now a big supporter of Sri Lanka.

  • on April 23, 2014, 22:13 GMT

    We are not in any trouble at all. Our boys have always been there about. Sometimes we have been beaten due to unforeseen circumstances like in WI, India so on. Forget the past. We have Sanath, Marvan, Vass, Sanga, Mahela and the rest to keep us in good stead. We have every confidence our boys will do well against England. If ECB thinks buying PF is going to give them the upper hand they are sadly mistaken. Best of luck ECB you are wrong again. Come on Sri Lanka show them who the true LIONS are.

  • on April 23, 2014, 21:24 GMT

    Money power? Farbrace built is resume by coaching Sri Lanka and now gets hired for bigger pay. Sad reality. But I think with Attapattu and Jayasuriya working with the players and also acting as a buffer between bureaucrats and the game, things should be good.

  • on April 23, 2014, 20:25 GMT

    Not a local coach. But if we are goode nough even a puppet at the helm will not be a problem. Cant we try Whatmore or Haturu? Ranjan Rodrigo Sydney

  • on April 23, 2014, 19:45 GMT

    No matter what, SL is really boosted up with WT20 win and I am happy to see Mahela & Sanga achieved something which was long waited. Great players deserves best. i don't think SL needs a foreign coach. Their boys are on high, they have Jayasurya & Attapattu in working committee. Coach's main job is to keep players bonded and understand each other's strengths and fails and by far I have never heard of any drifts among SL players no matter who coaching the side. ALL THE BEST Sri Lanka for upcoming tours.

  • Kotuwegogoda on April 23, 2014, 19:34 GMT

    We were left in no man's land. Fair share of blame should go to SLC and political culture in the country. Though not opined openly many coaches felt insecure.

    Leaving that aside, the players and interim coaches should focus on cricket. Then play to the maximum potential.

    Finally let us hope and pray that team would bring glory to the country akin to Asia cup and T20 World Cup.

  • surgeon101 on April 23, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    well said sanath and well handled by SLC. letting go of him was the best thing to do...

  • Lakpj on April 23, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    Marvan should grab this opportunity by both hands, it is the ideal chance for him to prove how good he is and prove his critics wrong which is to go a foreign coach.

  • SLMaster on April 23, 2014, 17:31 GMT

    Marvan will do good. We LIONs do not fail.

  • SL_WorldChampions on April 23, 2014, 17:30 GMT

    Could be a blessing in disguise for SL cricket. Hey England tour is coming up next, guys need some motivation too :)

  • Herath-UK on April 23, 2014, 17:06 GMT

    Jayasuriya himself should be the interim coach.

  • Luckwin on April 23, 2014, 16:51 GMT

    This is new beginning for SLC, Sanga,Mahela,Marvan and Vasie strong combination though without Murali. "What is not started today is never finished tomorrow."

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  • Luckwin on April 23, 2014, 16:51 GMT

    This is new beginning for SLC, Sanga,Mahela,Marvan and Vasie strong combination though without Murali. "What is not started today is never finished tomorrow."

  • Herath-UK on April 23, 2014, 17:06 GMT

    Jayasuriya himself should be the interim coach.

  • SL_WorldChampions on April 23, 2014, 17:30 GMT

    Could be a blessing in disguise for SL cricket. Hey England tour is coming up next, guys need some motivation too :)

  • SLMaster on April 23, 2014, 17:31 GMT

    Marvan will do good. We LIONs do not fail.

  • Lakpj on April 23, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    Marvan should grab this opportunity by both hands, it is the ideal chance for him to prove how good he is and prove his critics wrong which is to go a foreign coach.

  • surgeon101 on April 23, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    well said sanath and well handled by SLC. letting go of him was the best thing to do...

  • Kotuwegogoda on April 23, 2014, 19:34 GMT

    We were left in no man's land. Fair share of blame should go to SLC and political culture in the country. Though not opined openly many coaches felt insecure.

    Leaving that aside, the players and interim coaches should focus on cricket. Then play to the maximum potential.

    Finally let us hope and pray that team would bring glory to the country akin to Asia cup and T20 World Cup.

  • on April 23, 2014, 19:45 GMT

    No matter what, SL is really boosted up with WT20 win and I am happy to see Mahela & Sanga achieved something which was long waited. Great players deserves best. i don't think SL needs a foreign coach. Their boys are on high, they have Jayasurya & Attapattu in working committee. Coach's main job is to keep players bonded and understand each other's strengths and fails and by far I have never heard of any drifts among SL players no matter who coaching the side. ALL THE BEST Sri Lanka for upcoming tours.

  • on April 23, 2014, 20:25 GMT

    Not a local coach. But if we are goode nough even a puppet at the helm will not be a problem. Cant we try Whatmore or Haturu? Ranjan Rodrigo Sydney

  • on April 23, 2014, 21:24 GMT

    Money power? Farbrace built is resume by coaching Sri Lanka and now gets hired for bigger pay. Sad reality. But I think with Attapattu and Jayasuriya working with the players and also acting as a buffer between bureaucrats and the game, things should be good.