Sri Lanka are almost certain to be without a permanent head coach until a new board is elected – most likely in January – Sri Lanka Cricket officials have said.
SLC had advertised for the head coach position, but had been underwhelmed by the list of eventual applicants. This means interim head coach Jerome Jayaratne will likely remain in charge for Sri Lanka’s tour of New Zealand, which begins in December and ends on January 10. Jayaratne was appointed after Marvan Atapattu’s resignation in September, and his work with the team is understood to have pleased the board so far.
“I doubt very much that the interim committee will make any decision on the head coach,” committee vice-chairman Kushil Gunasekara said. “Now that Jerome has done pretty well, I don’t think we would want to make the call.”
The board had approached two other high-profile candidates who had displayed substantial interest, but neither was willing to sign on just months before a new board would be elected. Both of these coaches have worked in Sri Lanka before and though they are understood to have been satisfied with the money on offer, they had requested significant guarantees about the prospective term of their contracts.
“No coach wants to sign a contract with the interim committee, just before the board changes, as well,” Gunasekara said. “I think when we leave by the end of this year, the new board will likely take the decision.”
Sri Lanka have had an abysmal record of keeping their coaches this decade. Jayaratne is the team’s eighth head coach – including interim appointments – since 2011. Last year the SLC was forced to pay a settlement to former coach Geoff Marsh, who had initiated legal action for wrongful termination in 2012.
SLC had had five applicants for the head coach position, but SLC CEO Ashley de Silva had previously said these candidates were “not all that great”.
The interim committee has not yet been given a date for its dissolution, but a meeting on Thursday with Sri Lanka’s sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekara may provide more certainty, Gunasekara said. “After the West Indies tour, the sports ministry might give notice of 40 days. Then by the end of December the interim committee will probably be done. That’s the feeling I have. In terms of technicalities – according to the constitution – we need to be given 40 days’ notice.”
The sports ministry has repeatedly stated that the next SLC election will be held before the end of January.
Sri Lanka are set to play two Tests, five ODIs and two T20s in New Zealand. There is no cricket on their horizon after that tour, until the Asia Cup is tentatively scheduled to begin in the last week of February. (Courtesy Cricinfo)