Captain, coach, selectors to be sacked in complete overhaul
Published : 10:37 am January 19, 2012 | 6,793 views
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Captain, national coach and national selectors all will be sacked as Sri Lanka cricket team will be completely overhauled before the coming tour to Australia later this month, sources told “Daily Mirror” yesterday.
Skipper Tillekaratne Dilshan will be replaced by Mahela Jayawardene, national coach Geoff Marsh will be replaced by former South African national coach Graham Ford and the national selectors headed by Duleep Mendis will be replaced by a new set of national selectors headed by Asantha de Mel.
New national selectors were to be appointed last night in order to pick the new Sri Lanka team for the tour of Australia for the Commonwealth Bank series Tri-nation ODI tournament which also involves India.
Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said that the names of the new selectors would be announced today and confirmed that it would be the new selectors who would pick the team for the Australia tour.
They would pick the new team today as their first duty.
“We are in the process of naming the new selectors. We are going to take all these decisions in consultation with SLC. I could have taken these decisions in a hurry, if it was an interim committee I had appointed. But, it is only right that I consult them and let them decide what to do as it is a democratically elected, independent body that controls SLC now.” Minister said.
“I have asked SLC to submit me a report on the poor performance of the team in the current South African tour. Once I get this report into my hands, I will decide on appropriate action to take” Minister added.
Sources said that the new selection committee will be a four member team. The others in the committee will be Hemantha Wickramaratne, Kapila Wijegunawardena and Amal Silva. Another recommended name is Mahesh Gunatilake. However when contacted by the ‘Daily Mirror’, Gunatilake said that he was not interested.
Sources also said that present chief selector Duleep Mendis will be appointed as the national team manager, a position the former Sri Lanka captain held with distinction when Sri Lanka won the world cup in 1996 Mendis will replace the present manager Anura Tennekoon, himself a highly respected former AllCeylon captain.
Sources also said that the present entourage of so many different coaches would also be removed while only the present batting coach Marvan Atapattu will be retained probably in the capacity of Assistant Coach to tour with the national team.
Sri Lanka team’s Masseur Lal Thamel would also be replaced by the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team masseur W.R. Priyadarshana and sources said that the role of national team masseur will be rotated among all the qualified masseurs employed by SLC.
The most shocking change however will be the appointment of Ford and removal of Marsh before his contracted term expires.
Sources said that Marsh will be removed due to his failure to produce results as he is still under probation though his contract is scheduled to run for some more time .
Ford has quit as head coach of South African leading domestic side Dolphins with immediate effect, the Durban franchise confirmed on Tuesday.
The former Proteas boss cited his desire to coach at international level again as the reason for his decision.
Ford had been reappointed as Dolphins coach in June last year but he asked the Dolphins to be released from his contract and the union accepted his resignation.
“Whilst I feel a passion for Dolphins cricket, I respectfully ask for an immediate release from my Dolphins coaching position, in order to follow my dreams of involvement at an international level,” Ford said in a statement issued by the Kwazulu-natal club.
Ford was in his third stint with the Dolphins after having previously coached them from 1992 to 1997 and again in 2006.
The Dolphins have struggled this season and are yet to win a match in the SuperSpor t Series, where they lie bottom of the log with three games remaining, while they ended four th out of six teams in the One-day Cup.
KZN Cricket (Pty) Ltd said: “Graham has requested that he be released from his contract with immediate effect.
“We wish him well in his future endeavours and thank him for his contribution towards the development and rebuilding of cricket in KZN and the Dolphins team.”
Ford, 51, is an accomplished coach who was appointed by Board of Control for Cricket in India as coach of the Indian team after an interview, but famously declined the offer to replace Greg Chappell in 2007. As a South African first class cricketer Ford played just seven games for Natal B during a seven-year career. He was a good all-round spor tsman, being a former provincial tennis champion and representing Natal at football. Ford is also a qualified rugby union referee.
He was appointed the coach of Natal in 1992 and led the side to a stunning victory in both First Class and limited over competitions in 1996-97. Having proven his merit as a coach, Ford was appointed to coach South Africa ‘A’ side in 1998 for a tour of Sri Lanka and the following year was named the assistant coach of South Africa.
Ford was the assistant to Bob Woolmer in the 1999 World Cup and was appointed the South Africa head coach after that tournament. Ford guided South Africa to victory in 8 of the 11 series that they played but lost his job in June 2002 following defeats to Australia.
Ford who joined Kent was appointed the Director of Cricket of the county team in 2005.
In 2006 he returned to South Africa to coach the Dolphins but left the role the same year for personal reasons.
Sri Lankan legend Sanath Jayasuriya who played a few seasons for Dolphins, played under Ford and experienced Ford’s brilliance especially with the younger players first hand. “He has the potential to turn Sri Lanka into world beaters once again. He is a marvellous coach and has a unique way with the young players. If Sri Lanka manages to secure his services it would be quite a coup for SLC” Jayasuriya said last August when he was asked about Ford’s capabilities.
On June 9, 2007 Ford was offered the position of coach of the Indian cricket team, two days after he travelled to India for an interview but a day later he declined the offer, citing "it was the right decision for me and my family".
“I have had a chance to reflect on the offer made by the BCCI and their urgency to fill the vacant position. After careful consideration, I have decided to continue my work here at Kent. This has been a really difficult decision." Ford said in a statement he issued on Kent website.
Following the incident, Hindustan Times speculated that Ford was overawed by the overwhelming nature of things when he was bombarded by phone calls in England and then, landed in Chennai for the interview and saw the massive media presence.
Sources said that Ford is likely to be offered a monthly salary between US $ 12,000 – 14,000, while other perks include a luxury apar tment in Colombo, car, fuel, telephone and other allowances.
Sri Lanka team will arrive in the island on 24th January and leave for Australia on the 28th of January.
By Channaka De Silva