Sri Lanka news September 6, 2014

Ramprakash, Atapattu in race to coach SL

Middlesex batting coach Mark Ramprakash is among the frontrunners to become Sri Lanka's head coach, but he is also set to be in talks with the ECB about a possible role with England shortly. Ramprakash will be interviewed by SLC over the next few days, along with seven other shortlisted candidates.

Interim coach Marvan Atapattu is also a candidate for the Sri Lanka job, having overseen Sri Lanka's Test and ODI series victories over England and Pakistan. Former Australia and South Africa coach Mickey Arthur, and former Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons are among other high-profile names being considered.

Ramprakash has been increasingly heavily involved with England this summer as a batting coach in a freelance capacity and is keen to move his coaching career forward.

The ECB has been impressed with his contribution, and as soon as England's international season finishes on Saturday will seek to conclude discussions about a quiet reshuffle in the coaching structure. Graham Thorpe is England's current batting coach, but he is understood to be reluctant to tour. The developing of Andy Flower, England's former coach, may also complicate discussions.

While SLC is also excited by Ramprakash, the board could be unable to match the ECB's remuneration if England also offer Ramprakash a more permanent role. SLC has already been out-competed by the ECB this year, when Paul Farbrace was offered the England assistant coach job in April. Since then, Sri Lanka have also seen some of their other coaches leave the local set-up to go to Bangladesh, in part for better salaries.

SLC had received over 15 applications for the head coach role, with Atapattu believed to be the only local to have applied. An eight-member committee which includes chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya, SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga, and cricket committee chairman Ranjit Fernando has been appointed to conduct interviews and nominate the next coach.

As it stands, a faction within this committee believes that Atapattu is the strongest candidate for the job, given his recent track record, his intimate knowledge of the local system, and because SLC can afford him. However, there are also strident concerns among key decision-makers, both in the committee and in SLC, that he is not yet ready for the position.

If Atapattu does not get the job, Sri Lanka will have their eighth head coach - permanent or interim - in the last four years. A foreign coach will also have just a little over three months with the side before the World Cup begins in February.

It is understood that SLC hopes to have a coach contracted at least six weeks before Sri Lanka's next international series at home, against England in November. That series is also England's next international assignment following the Twenty20 international against India on Sunday.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando, George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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