Since the mid 90s Sri Lanka has relied upon and invested heavily on foreign coaches. It paid rich dividends when the islanders under Davenell Whatmore took the world by storm and won the 1996 World Cup.
Sri Lanka never turned to the big names, nor did they look for reputation. Instead, they went for unknown overseas club coaches.
A stint with Sri Lanka Cricket has helped the coaching staff as much as it has helped Sri Lanka. It was beneficial to both. Sri Lanka had international coaching staff to fit their budget, and upcoming coaches had the chance to add an international coaching stint to their portfolio.
Whatmore brought physical fitness training and the self belief to a talented squad in the mid 90s. He conjured up a game plan that suited Sri Lanka’s style of play.
Dyson turned the unit it into a more professional polished group of thinkers. Moody unleashed the natural flair and talent from within by building on self confidence.
While all this took place there was a mass exodus of aspiring coaches of Sri Lankan origin. Manjula Munasinghe, Chandika Hathurusinghe, Asanka Gurusinghe, Champaka Ramanayake, Naweed Nawaz, and Roy Dias are just a few names that come to mind when one thinks of former players who have turned to coaching as a career. Most have sought employment outside of Sri lanka.
What tips a foreign national over a local for the job? Could it be the overseas coach knows more? How much does it have to do with the players themselves?
Can you picture a batsman like Sanath Jayasuriya or Mahela Jayawardene taking tips from Chandika Hathurusinghe? To be honest I can’t see that ever happening! It not just an ego issue, it is also a practicality issue. The coach must be able to command some level of respect for successful international players to take them seriously.
That’s why I feel Sri Lanka will continue to struggle to find a local coach for the job.