Sri Lanka Cricket got a taste of their own medicine, as head coach Paul Farbrace abandoned the coaching position within his probation period to take on an assistant coach position with ECB.
As much as I was disappointed to hear this, I have to remember the fact that the Sri Lankan cricket team did not magically start winning the Asia Cup and the World Cup all because Farbrace rocked up three months ago! In fact, Sri Lanka were starting to peak while Graham Ford was in his last series in the UAE.
Us Sri Lankans have this mentality, where we think that it’s the coach that has won the World Cup! Don’t get me wrong, I know the importance of a good coach, but that should not take away the shine off our boys who have progressed consistently towards there goals.
On the other hand, ECB must be hoping for miracles by getting Farbrace in as assistan, but it is probably not going solve the issues and egos that’s in their dressing room. After all, it is the players who have to perform at the game not the coach.
The greatest example for this is what happened with Dav Whatmore, another legendary World Cup-winning coach who was in charge of our 1996 team. If I recall it right, Whatmore was also offered many coaching roles in different countries after winning the World Cup, but I think it is fair to say he has not had the kind of success he had with the 1996 Sri Lankan team, and since he left us. This is mainly because not every team is blessed to have the likes of Aravinda de Silva, Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas to go with a captain like Arjuna Ranatunga and Company!
With a dream team like that, one would say that a coach is not even required. 1996 was arguably the best team combination Sri Lanka cricket ever produced, however, fast-forward 18 years after, and now we have a team with players of the likes of Mahela Jayawardena, Kumar Sangakkara, Tilkkaratne Dilshan, Lasith Malinga and Rangana Herath to go with some energetic young players like Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera and Sachithra Senanayake and others.
If there is any team that could have challenged the great 1996 world champs, it would be the 2014 World Cup-winning squad. The point I am trying to make is loosing a coach in three months is rarely going to effect a team of this caliber.
The Sri Lanka squad has a great mix of young and the experience and is in a position where any coach with a decent amount of experience and a great understanding of its culture would be able to coach them. This team has gone through so much in this past year or so, that they will play without a coach if they have to!
Such is the heart shown by our boys. So enough about this ‘losing a World Cup-winning coach! Because the fact remains that we still have our World Cup-winning champion team!
Writing By Shanaka Tennekoon