Sri Lanka Cricket unceremoniously dumped former Australian opening batsman Geoff Marsh as coach of its cricket team, barely three months after hiring him. South African Graham Ford is his replacement.
SLC has now summoned its new captain Mahela Jayawardene and former Captain T.M.Dilshan to meet the press later on Thursday in a bid to put to rest rumours that there is no unity in the team, and that Mahela was forced to take up captaincy.
Marsh had a two-year contract with SLC. Sri Lanka lost to Pakistan and South Africa with Marsh as coach. This is nothing new to the team, which had already lost an away series to England and a home series to a rebuilding Australia last year.
SLC had expected Marsh to provide some magical touch to a team that looks lost without its ageing war horses – Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Lasith Malinga etc – and lost to Pakistan in West Asia. England, possibly the best team now in sight, is also losing by a wide margin to Pakistan under the same conditions.
Sri Lanka finally managed a test win against South Africa for the first time since it began playing cricket, but this achievement, which can be credited to the team and its management, did not impress the selectors or the politicians who run cricket in Sri Lanka.
Marsh was not even given a honourable exit; a press release issued late on Wednesday, said: “ Honorable Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage has approved the appointment of the following support staff to accompany the National team for the forthcoming Triangular series in Australia, scheduled to get underway in Melbourne, on the 5th of February: Charith Senanayaka (Manager), Graham Ford (Coach)…”
It is from this release that SLC officially communicated that Marsh was sacked. “The executive Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket takes this opportunity to wish, Manager Charith Senanyaka and the newly appointed Coach, Graham Ford, the best of luck during their tenure with the National Team. They also convey their gratitude to Anura Tennekoon the former Manager, and Geoffry Marsh the out going National Coach for their Commitment, dedication, and hard work they put in during their period with the National team,” the release further said.