Sri Lanka news February 3, 2016

Ford calls for patience as Sri Lanka rebuild

Graham Ford: 'It's very important that this team building is done on a very solid foundation, so patience is required' © AFP

Sri Lanka's new coach, Graham Ford, who is set to begin his second stint with the team, has cautioned against expecting quick fixes. The team, he said, is in transition, so he expects the job to be challenging.

"Sri Lanka is in the early part of a rebuilding phase, so don't expect any quick fixes," Ford said on arrival in Sri Lanka. "I am very aware what a huge challenge it is. A lot of hard work needs to be done. It's very important that this team building is done on a very solid foundation, so patience is required.

"I know there is an abundance of talent within the system, but it is about identifying those who have got the mental toughness to go on and become consistent players and match-winners at international level."

Jerome Jayaratne, Sri Lanka Cricket's head of coaching, who took charge of the team on a temporary basis when Marvan Atapattu resigned as coach in Sri Lanka, is expected to be appointed full-time assistant coach. Ford said it was important to draw on his experience, and for the entire Sri Lankan cricket set-up to work together.

"It's quite a long process which is required. A lot of hard work, not just for me but all involved, particularly Jerome who has been involved in Sri Lanka cricket for a long time, knows the players so well and has a wealth of knowledge technically and tactically.

"It's important to have his input, and also to have the selectors and the board all working together to ensure the long-term process can take place so that we can take Sri Lanka back to the top of the international stage."

Jayaratne also expected to play the role of team manager, a position previously held by Jeryl Woutersz.

Ford's first assignment is the three-match T20 international series in India, which he said would be a tough beginning but one he could use to find out how good the team is at present.

SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala said Ford was one of 12 coaches his board interviewed for the post, and he was confident they had made the right choice. "We have secured the services of one of the best coaches in the world," Sumathipala said. "We have appointed him for 45 months [from February 1] so that he covers the 2019 World Cup in England, where he has first-hand knowledge of the conditions having coached the counties."

Sumathipala also thanked Kumar Sangakkara for playing a pivotal role in securing the services of Ford from English county Surrey, which Sangakkara represents.