In a statement to the media Dharmadasa said that the changes were required to take Sri Lanka cricket forward.
The statement said :
“Many seem to criticize Sri Lanka Cricket for the Changes we implemented by appointing a New Captain, Coach, Team Manager and the Selection Committee. We would like to assure the Cricket loving public here in Sri Lanka and to our numerous fans that support Sri Lanka Cricket globally that we will reap the benefits of these changes in the fullness of time.
Thilekaratne Dilshan has been a great servant of Sri Lanka Cricket from the time he made his debut in 1999, and we are proud of him. He has represented Sri Lanka in 77 Test Matches and 224 One day Internationals. He has led the team well, during his tenure, he stood against very tough oppositions namely England on English soil, Australia, Pakistan in the UAE and South Africa in South Africa. Dilshan has been exceptional, unfortunately for him, we were in the process of team building after the World Cup, hence we had teething problems. Under Dilshan’s leadership we did very well to beat South Africa in a Test match for the first time in their home soil. We lost the ODI series 3-2, however the series could have gone either way, we were unlucky that Duckworth Lewis came into the equation in the 3rd ODI; otherwise we would be reading different scripts.
Our National team ended the series on a high, by beating the Protease in the last two one day Internationals, chasing totals of 300 plus runs which is an exceptional achievement. We infused young blood into the Test and one day series in South Africa, we are proud to state, that Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thrimanne and Thissera Perera proved to the Cricketing World that they belong to the International arena.
We appointed Mahela Jayewardene, our former Captain to take over the reins taking into consideration his capabilities, skill level coupled with his authoritative and modest personality as a leader, who will guide our youngsters and the team to greater heights. This change will also help Dilshan to concentrate more on his game, to play his Cricket with a free mind by not taking the burden of Captaincy on his shoulder. We strongly believe Dilshan’s contribution will be much more if he is relived of additional responsibility. This will help the teams overhaul performance.
We extend our sincere gratitude to Geoffrey Marsh. We realize it is no easy task to take over and produce results overnight. Sri Lanka Cricket has to move on. We need to reach Cricketing Excellence, sooner rather than later. We had done a lot of constructive research to source the best man for the job, Graham Ford of South Africa came to our reckoning based on the fact that he can cope with the demand a 2st Century Coach has to cope with in the International arena. He has had an excellent track record not only as a Coach but also in management. Very similar to Australia’s most successful Coach of the 21st Century John Buchanan, Graham too has had limited exposure in the International arena as a player, however the track record of both these gentleman in their Coaching capabilities is far beyond compare.
Graham started his Coaching career with Natal Province and ended up as their Senior Coach in 1992. With the help of Malcolm Marshall and Clive Rice Graham Ford was instrumental in guiding a crop of young hopefuls in the mid nineties namely Shaun Pollock, Jhonty Rhodes, Lance Klusner, Neil Johnson who excelled for South Africa along with a host of youngsters like Dale Bekenstein. Graham who took over from Bob Woolmer as the South African Coach in 1999 ended his tenure in 2001 by guiding South Africa to 8 wins in 9 series as head Coach of the protease. English County Kent appointed Graham as their Cricket director in 2004, he returned to his home land in 2006 to guide South Africa’s premier club “Dolphins” to great heights, in a very competitive domestic Competitions. India tried to source him in 1999, they failed, but we are proud of getting his services in 2012.
Anura Tennekoon bids farewell after an excellent service he rendered to the National team as Manager since 2010.
We have replaced Anura by appointing Charith Senanayake former National player. We envisage Charith to be of immense help and support to our National team. Incidentally he is no stranger to the current squad and is also no stranger to the dressing room.
We are grateful to the government and the Honorable Minister of sports for helping Sri Lanka Cricket through stormy waters. We assure you the current crisis as defined by some, is only temporary, financially we will be stable shortly. We have a host of youngsters with excellent skill level, for the future, we will make our objective of reaching Cricketing Excellence a reality, we request all of you to rally round us and support the game by encouraging us to guide Sri Lanka cricket to greater heights”.