Transparency will be a hallmark of his tenure as Sri Lanka coach, Marvan Atapattu has said, as he sought to alleviate concerns that local coaches are vulnerable to manipulation in an environment fraught with politics.

Sri Lanka Cricket remains one of the more visibly political cricket bodies in the world, particularly when it comes to team selection. The sports minister still sends a representative to national selection meetings, and according to sports law, must sign off on the selections before they are made official. The minister had also recently stepped in to ease tensions between rival factions of officials at Sri Lanka Cricket.

Concerns that local coaches are susceptible to the tugs and pulls of board politics had seemingly been among the reasons no local had been appointed as full-time head coach for 15 years. Two days after his appointment, Atapattu has said he will do his best to keep cricket and politics separate at the top level.

"I don't see any undue influences in Sri Lankan cricket," Atapattu said, "But I'm someone who likes to have everything transparent and fair. That's so important when you're working in a group. That gives everybody confidence. It's easier to manage when everyone knows which way we are going. I don't wish to bring in any politics."

There is scant evidence of politics influencing the cricket Sri Lanka have played, but the public's perception of the cricket board has soured over the past three years, as news and rumours of infighting and political maneuvering has filtered through. Recent public battles between administrative officials and popular senior players have done little to improve the board's image in the eyes of the public.

"Political interference or any other interference - my way of doing this would be to not let anything affect the players," Atapattu said. "I'll do my best to try and stay away from it. We will be successful if we work in a way that is transparent to our fans. I don't think the board officials or selection committee will make any undue influences."

Atapattu has three major assignments to begin his term, with England set to visit in November and December for seven ODIs, followed by an away tour to New Zealand, just before the World Cup in February. Sri Lanka have high hopes for the tournament, given their form across formats in 2014, and their knack of raising their game for global events.

"The World Cup is our immediate focus. We have done very well in the last few months starting January. We were building ourselves up to that and we can be very happy with what we have achieved.

"I have a group of players who are willing to learn and listen. It's up to us as a management group to manage these players and get them peaking at the right time at the World Cup. We won the last few series so our morale is high, but we have to do a lot of work ourselves. We've got another 14 one-day games before we play the first game on February 14."

Among Atapattu's responsibilities in the approach to that tournament will be putting Sri Lanka's best team in place - a job made harder by uncertainty over two key bowlers. Lasith Malinga has recently had a surgery on his ankle which takes 16 weeks to make a full recovery from, on average. Offspinner Sachithra Senanayake, meanwhile, has been banned for an illegal action. His return to domestic cricket following remedial work is imminent, but he is yet to be cleared to play internationals. Both bowlers were instrumental to Sri Lanka's World T20 win in April.

Atapattu, though, was hopeful he would have both available for selection for the World Cup. "All going well, we'll have Lasith's services around mid-January. Hopefully he can play a couple of one-dayers with New Zealand and the practice matches before he plays the actual tournament matches in the World Cup," he said.

"Sachithra has done good work. He has done work locally with Piyak Wijetunge and Jerome Jayaratne. And he has also done work with the lab in Western Australia. Now it's a matter of him getting a date fixed to get it retested. Hopefully he will get the clearance so SLC has given him permission to play Mercantile cricket."

Atapattu also launched a defence of batsmen Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne, who have been struggling for form in the past few months. Chandimal and Thirimanne had been vice-captain of the Test and ODI teams over the past 18 months, but both men ended the last series on the fringe of the top teams.

"Chandimal and Thirimanne are two of our most talented cricketers. They have developed a lot in the past three years, but that development has not been reflected in their scores - I accept that. We know that they are better than that. We expect runs from them, and are disappointed when runs don't come.

"But when you look back at a Sangakkara or Jayawardene when they first started, and you analyse that, Chandimal and Thirimanne have done as well as them in a similar number of games. Chandimal has played 14 Tests, and if you look at where Sangakkara was at 14 matches, Chandimal is actually 11 runs ahead. Thirimanne is as good as Angelo Mathews at a similar stage in his ODI career as well. We shouldn't panic, because they have developed. We have to try and give them a stable place, and maybe relieve them of some responsibility, and maintain patience with them."

SLC are also currently considering applications for the positions of fielding coach and trainer, and Atapattu said he would sit down with the committees which will make those appointments, over the next few weeks.

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