Marvan Atapattu has taken the reigns as Sri Lanka interim head coach, replacing Paul Fabrace who left the role to become Peter Moores’ assistant with England.
The T20 World Cup champions were left stumped when former Kent wicket-keeper Farbrace announced his decision earlier this week, but they have now looked closer to home in Atapattu, who represented the country in 90 Tests and 268 ODIs.
Chief Selector and former Sri Lanka star Sanath Jayasuriya has explained the move to appoint an interim coach, which apparently stems from the lack of time available before the next round of matches commence.
Nonetheless, Jayasuriya, together with cricket committee chairman Ranjit Fernando and head of coaching Jerome Jayaratne, have taken little time in choosing their man to fill the void, a lesson England themselves might wish to learn to avoid the confusion and disarray that followed Andy Flower’s departure.
Atapattu will take charge for the summer Tests against England, which start on June 12th at Lord’s, and will then take his men to Scotland before returning home for a series against South Africa in July.
He will certainly have big shoes to fill, after Farbrace guided Sri Lanka to their first ever T20 World Cup with victory over India. That followed success in the Asia Cup earlier this year, where they overcome Pakistan to become champions for the fifth time.
This, of course, is not the first time Atapattu has applied for the job – he was pipped to the post in December 2013, when Farbrace was appointed to replace Graham Ford, who became unfortunately known among Sri Lankan fans for falling at the last hurdle.
Farbrace’s spell has turned out to be short-lived, though, and the notoriously hard-working Atapattu will now take his place.
Atapattu has been hailed from all quarters for his ability to pass the technical skill he displayed as a player onto those under his influence as coach. He became a batting coach with Sri Lanka in 2011, and has been an assistant since early 2013.
Undeniably, a new era is underway at the SLC, despite their recent successes on the world stage. It is a wave of change that has seen Lasith Malinga made captain, at least for his side’s T20 campaigns, due to his impressive leadership in the World Cup.
Malinga ‘the slinger’ will team up with Atapattu to lead the side in their first T20 against England on May 20th.
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