Marvan Atapattu will lead Sri Lanka on England tour

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Marvan Atapattu will lead the Sri Lanka national side on their tour of England and Ireland, as well as for the series against South Africa this summer, it was announced over the weekend.

Atapattu will be assisted by Ruwan Kalpage, former spinner and fielding coach, and will have a chance to stake a claim on the position full time.

Sri Lanka were left without a coach this week when Paul Farbrace quit after just three months in charge to take up a post as assistant coach with England.  Atapattu was widely tipped to take over as coach when Graham Ford left in January, but was overlooked by the SLC in favour of Farbrace, who will now be in the opposition camp from the team he led to the World T20.

“Farbrace knows inside out about Sri Lanka’s cricketers, and that’s the biggest challenge for us,” cheif selector Sanath Jayasuriya said. “He knows our batsmen and bowlers from top to bottom, and what we have been discussing in the last four or five months. I hope Marvan, Ruwan, the bowling coach can do a lot of work with the senior cricketers and come out of this situation.”

However, England are also in some disarray after a winter that saw them barely able to win a match in any format of the game, and a World T20 that included a thrilling win over Sri Lanka, but petered out in a loss to the Netherlands.

After the debacle in Australia, head coach Andy Flower departed, leading to the reappointment of Peter Moores and the poaching of Farbrace.  England are also expected to field a new look team, with Jonathan Trott still out with a stress related illness, Graeme Swann retired and Michael Carberry out of favour.

All in all, this could be a great chance for Sri Lanka to pile the misery on to England, and if they can do that, and put up a good show against South Africa at home, Atapattu will fancy his chances of making the head coach position his own.

The first two ODIs of the tour, against Ireland on May 6th and 8th, will be streamed live on the internet.


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