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Marvan Atapattu, the former Sri Lanka captain and opening batsman, has been hired by Singapore as their coach till the end of 2010. This is Atapattu's first full-time assignment of a coach of a national side, after a short previous stint as Canada's batting coach in early 2009, subsequently helping them qualify for the 2011 World Cup, and his main task will be the World Cricket League Division 5 in Nepal next month.
"We have been looking around for a suitable person to help us move our cricket forward,'' said Singapore Cricket Association deputy president Mahmood Gaznavi. "And Atapattu is definitely one who has the experience to push the team in the right direction."
Atapattu, 38, has previously also worked with the Fingara Cricket Academy, a coaching facility in Sri Lanka, for a couple of months before the Canada role. He will travel with Singapore to the six-nation tournament and fight for a place among the top two to advance to Division 4.
"I am looking forward to doing all possible to help Singapore cricket,'' said Atapattu, whose assignment started this week. "It is a challenge that can be realised by effort from both the players and the coach. I have seen some of the players at practice sessions and I must say I am impressed with the quality of some of these players."
Singapore won the World Cricket League Division 6 tournament last September with an unbeaten run against Guernsey, Botswana, Bahrain, Malaysia and Norway. In Nepal, they will face the hosts, Bahrain, Fiji, Jersey and the United States of America.
"We have a realistic chance of doing well in Nepal,'' said Singapore captain Munish Arora. "With proper application and commitment, Singapore can take on any of the other teams in Division 5. Atapattu's engagement will be useful."
The Australian Trevor Chappell had coached Singapore for the World Cricket League Division 5 but his engagements back home did not permit him to continue with the team this year.