Sri Lanka news April 24, 2014

Atapattu tipped to coach SL in England

Sri Lanka's chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya issued the strongest indication yet that Marvan Atapattu would be appointed coach for the tour of Ireland and England, following Paul Farbrace's resignation on Tuesday.

Jayasuriya, head of coaching Jerome Jayaratne, and cricket committee chairman Ranjit Fernando have been appointed in a three-member committee to formulate SLC's next move.

The panel is expected to recommend a coach - in at least an interim capacity - to the board on Monday.

Atapattu had applied for the head coach position when Graham Ford announced he would vacate the job, and had progressed to the final round of interviews in November, before Farbrace was appointed. Atapattu has been Sri Lanka's batting coach since for three years, and was promoted to assistant coach in March 2013.

"We should look to give responsibility to Marvan because he's been around for a few years," Jayasuriya said. "But we haven't taken any decisions yet. The first step is to have a discussion with Marvan and clear up how to approach this issue, particularly in light of the fast-approaching England tour.

"We had had a plan for the tour, part of which was to send a group of about six players to England early, which we were hoping Paul would facilitate. Now that he's gone, we've got to find another way to do that.

Atapattu has earned a reputation for his technical acumen - as a coach, as he had been as a player - but he was deemed unready for head coach role late last year. Both Farbrace and Ford have publicly lauded his work ethic.

"We need to ask Marvan what he feels, and how he's going to do things before we make any decisions," Jayasuriya said.

SLC also confirmed it would not receive compensation from Farbrace nor the ECB, for Farbrace's early departure. His contract had stipulated he give six months' notice before leaving the role, but as he had quit within his six-month probationary period, that former clause was made void.

SLC will in effect have also lost a figure believed to be around Rs. 8 million (USD $60,000) on hosting the Yorkshire county side for a pre-season tour. The costs of tour had been the bulk of the compensation SLC paid for having Farbrace released early from his Yorkshire contract.

"We had the probation clause to benefit both parties," SLC assistant secretary Hirantha Perera said. "From our side if he hadn't gelled well with the team, we would have had the chance to terminate his contract. What we had been after is a settled coach for the 2015 World Cup"

SLC were recently compelled to cough up an undisclosed sum for terminating Geoff Marsh's contract, three months into his tenure in 2011. Marsh's contract had not carried a probationary period.

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

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