Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will seek to appoint a permanent head coach by the end of the month, in order to provide certainty around the position ahead of England’s tour in November, the board’s chief executive Ashley de Silva has said.
The team is set to play seven ODIs against England from November 26, as part of the build-up to the 2015 World Cup. Sri Lanka also have a full tour of New Zealand in December and January.
“We have short-listed nine from the 15 applications we received for the post,” de Silva said. “They will be interviewed on Skype during the course of this week by the committee appointed to pick the candidate.
“We hope to finish the interviews by the end of the week and prune the list down further before inviting them to come to Sri Lanka and make their representations,” he said.
The 11-member committee that will recommend the next coach includes chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya, secretary Nishantha Ranatunga and head of coaching Jerome Jayaratne.
One of my earliest memories of cricket goes back to the year 1992. It was an Australia v Sri Lanka match played at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo. Australia batted first and got around 250 in their 50 overs. The Sri Lankan openers that day were Roshan Mahanama and Hashan Tillakaratne. Both got out within the first few overs. Asanka Gurusinha at No. 3 made a painstakingly slow fifty. Aravinda de Silva came at No. 4 and smashed the Aussie attack that consisted of McDermott, Whitney, Dodemaide and Moody all over the park and made a run-a-ball hundred.
But just when it seemed like Sri Lanka was going to steal an unexpected win, Aravinda got out. Australia saw the opportunity and clawed their way back in with a couple of quick wickets, leaving Sri Lanka needing about 30 to win in the last 3 overs. At the crease, Sri Lanka had Arjuna Ranatunga who had to shepherd the tail, and finish the game.
Finishing chases in the subcontinent is an art as much as it is a science. Spinners slowing it down, forcing the batsman to generate all the power, the ball gripping off the surface and turning square at times, the discoloured white ball, the heat, batting gloves drenched with sweat. In my mind, there have been three great ODI finishers in subcontinental conditions – Javed Miandad, Arjuna Ranatunga and MS Dhoni.