Chandika Hathurusingha | Graham Ford

The resignation of former Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu from his post as head coach of the Sri Lanka cricket team may come as a shock to many but for those in the know it is the best thing that has happened to Sri Lanka cricket.

No suitable reason was given in the media release put out by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) except for the fact that Atapattu’s resignation letter has been accepted.

Interim Committee members were tight lipped to comment on Atapattu’s resignation and only said that they had a chat with him before accepting his resignation.

The Nation learns that Attapattu who is more of an introvert right throughout his career as a cricketer was not having the necessary communications going inside the team dressing room which had an adverse affect on player performances.

Atapattu had one year of his two-year contact to fulfill when he decided to quit. His resignation comes in the wake of two back to back Test series defeats at home against Pakistan and India by 1-2 margins.

The SLC cricket committee comprising interim committee chairman Sidath Wettimuny, Michael Tissera, Mahela Jayawardene, Kapila Wijegunawardene (the present chairman of selectors) and Dushan Soza will have the task of head hunting for the next head coach. Whether they will be able to find a suitable candidate before the West Indies arrive here in late October remains to be seen.

If time doesn’t permit there is a possibility that SLC would appoint an interim coach for the West Indies series whilst seeking a long term candidate.

SLC’s head coach Jerome Jayaratne is mentioned as a likely candidate for the post.

Sri Lanka has in the past been served by interim coaches with former fast bowler Rumesh Ratnayake and former Australian cricketer Stuart Law performing the roles in recent times.
The names of former Sri Lanka cricketer and shadow coach Chandika Hathurusingha and Graham Ford who coached Sri Lanka from 2012 to 2014 have surfaced as the likely candidates to succeed Atapattu.

Hathurusingha is currently head coach of Bangladesh and is doing an excellent job with them. Whether he would want to commit himself to undertaking coaching his own country after his bitter experience with a previous interim committee in 2011 is a matter for conjecture.

South African Ford’s name surfaced sometime back in June as showing interest to return as coach. Ford is currently head coach of English county Surrey for whom former Sri Lanka wicket-keeper batsman is playing and has a two-year contract with.

Both Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene have a high regard for Ford as coach and it won’t be a surprise in the event of Hathurusingha opting out that he will be the next choice candidate.

According to SLC sources whoever is selected will be on a long term contract at least till the 2019 World Cup in England.

Sri Lanka cricket is currently undergoing a period of transition following the retirements of Jayawardene and Sangakkara who had been the mainstay of the team’s batting for more than a decade and a half.