Math and the Aftermath of Mr.Ford

"We are sorry, Mr Ford!"

These must be the words that any heart-broken Sri Lankan fan has to say to the great man, leaving coach of Sri Lanka, Mr.Ford. This is the second time Ford leaving the position of Sri Lankan coach behind. When he left the country in 2014 having finished a successful two year stint, within the couple of months followed, Sri Lanka crowned as the World T20 champions under his assistant and current English Assistant coach Paul Farbrace. Within 3 months of his departure, Sri Lanka went on to win a full tour of England for the first time in history, winning all three formats under coach Marvan Attapattu. It's not that Ford had not had issues with SLC at the time, but he didn't renew his contract sighting family issues. Yet Ford left far more happier after finishing his full stint, having unlocked Sanga V2.0(copyrights Andrew Fernando), Having transferred Dilshan into a consistent 100 maker and leaving behind a team that could beat any top nation. And they went on to do so in the following months. At some point In the victory filled season following his departure, any true Sri Lankan fan must have thought,

"Thank You, come back when these admins are gone, please!!!"


"Why Ford? We have better coaches in Sri Lanka"

This is one of the popular discussions among sri lankan fans for a while now. Who is Ford? What has he done? 
As genuine Sangakkara describes, Ford is a simple man with a simple method at work. Also, He is good at drawing stickmen. He sees himself as a stickman etc:. Yet, Ford is also a man who said "No" to the Indian head coach Job after their early exit in 2007 world cup, due to family reasons, having a young family at the time and wanting to spend more time with them. Ford on another occasion, withdrew himself from shortlist(2009) for England Head coach job when him and Andy Flower(who got the job) were front runners(Ford was the favorite) for the job. Only because ECB dragged the date for an appointment due to other issues they had at the time. Ford is a man of his word, man of his principles. Not someone who runs behind popularity or money. Certainly not SLC type.

Not only that, unlike SLC, he had a long term vision which he insisted upon when he began at SLC. As per resume, he worked with many legends like Pollock, G Smith and even Sanath in his short stints at Nadal, his provincial team in South Africa. He is widely regarded as the mentor of sublime Kevin Peterson from a very young age. He also worked with South Africa and had a very successful stint with them as well. His next move was to surrey, where Alec Stuart regards him very very highly, a place he has shown the way to many current and blossoming English stars like Jason Roy, Ben Foakes and Curren brothers.

"What? How on the earth SLC had a man in caliber of Ford? Man true to his word to work with SLC?"

"Why Ford left? Why the inevitable happened?"

Cricket is a professional sport. Not just a reason to have few beers at the end of the day's play like in the good ol days. For players, cricket is their profession, their work, their living. Ground or gym are their workplaces. Players are also employees just like most of us in our respective professions. Similarly a coach's role is same as head of a branch in a scenario of any other private company. Let's say, One day, The owner visits and introduced his nephew son to the branch as new HR person. After a couple of weeks, owner starts dealing with Nephew directly considering branch matters without even informing the head of the branch. Couple of months gone by, big event coming up soon. Suddenly, owner and nephew decides to have a meeting about planing and scheduling for the event without even informing the branch head. How the employees must have felt in a scenario like this? Can't ignore the meeting, it's your living, Neither can betray the head of the branch whom you respect highly. This is the situation our players and coaches being put on to say the least.

"What should i do? Follow my heart or keep my Living?"


"How ll we miss Ford?"

Ford's most recent stint with SLC started when we were at a low which we hadn't face since 96. Mahela, Sangakkara left. Dilshan was nearing end. Malinga injured. Fast bowlers were breaking down every time a wind was blown across the ground. Everyone said, Sri Lanka could become another West Indies….soon.

Truth to be told, we were following the suite for a while at the start of Ford stint. We couldn't last for 20 overs in a T20 game when he took over. It was apparent in last world t20 when champions met with a first round exit. Then the clock started moving slowly but steadily. Since Australian whitewash, Sri Lankan team had shown glimpses of what they could do. We have found players like Kusal Mendis, Dickwalle,Asela who has potential and slowly shaping up to their roles in the team. Finally, Fast bowlers are way more fitter and goes through series after series without injury issues. Finally, Mathews is back and fit. In Indian match up, Sri Lanka have shown what this team is capable of.

But other two games showed lack of experience, having lost from winning positions 20-30 overs in to second half of the game. They most definitely need time, most of these guys are yet to play 30 games each. It's not Ford's friend Sangakkara who ll retire in few months from most of the cricket, it's not Thilanga Sumathipala or Asanka Gurusinghe; It's Mendises', Dickwalle's, Dhanushka's going to miss Ford the most going forward. These youngsters are the ones going to miss the services of a great coach, widely regarded as one of the best. Specially with young guns like the lot we have. And of course they will miss the great man in him and the charming confidence he injects to them.

Modern coaching is more self orientated and also based on playing with freedom. And being positive. Last generation of cricketers like Sangakkara, Jayawardena suffered by undue responsibly put on them at certain stages of their careers. Even Chandimal, Tharanga are victims of that way of thinking. All of them, free stroke makers, became way more cautious/slow players with time because of the responsibility given and insecurity injected upon them. This, while players like Ponting,AB, Kholi, S Smith being opposite to Sri Lankan players, improved so quickly with lot more freedom being allowed, security being assured. Ford is a firm believer of giving freedom to the players, Kevin Peterson, Jason Roy or Sanga V2.0 being prime examples. Hence, Also what Sri Lankan team missed is a great opportunity to go on a tour to modern one day cricket and check our powers.

When Ford left Sri Lankan job in 2014, with a ray of hope, Sri Lankan fans were wondering,
"Thank You for everything, come back when these admins are gone, please!!!"
Sadly, when he left this time, Sri Lankan fans are most likely to be left with the words,
"Least come visit us Mr Ford, you will always be remembered as the simple, genius man in the heart of every Sri Lankan cricket fan"

                                                                                                            –  C.A.

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