Sri Lanka news April 23, 2014

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

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

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