Dave Whatmore, the only coach who lead Sri Lanka to a world cup win, will not have his contract with Pakistan renewed after the upcoming Sri Lanka series in in the UAE which ends in February. Coincidently, Sri Lanka’s current coach will also end his term at the conclusion of the same series. Sri Lanka Cricket has narrowed down their search for a new coach to two candidates and are expected to make an announcement of the new coach before the end of this year. However, considering the qualifications and experience of the two candidates that SLC will choose from, SLC could do well to grab this unforeseen opportunity with both hands and bring Dave Whatmore in to the mix.
Mark Davis is a little known coach to Sri Lankan fans and it is widely believed that Attapattu will be appointed Sri Lanka’s next coach. While Marvan Attapattu is without a doubt one of Sri Lanka’s greatest opening batsman ever, he was never known as one to inspire and motivate a group of men. It is true that Marvan captained Sri Lanka with reasonable success. However, it was also during a period when Sri Lanka were blessed with some of its greatest players still active. It was a well-known fact that Marvan was a very laid back captain who was reluctant to get involved in team issues outside of the field. Some of the stronger captains like Arjuna, Sangakara and Mahela for example, fought for what was right and in the best interest of their team, even outside of the field as good leaders must. Marvan was known to have taken the approach of saying “I am just the captain and don’t get involved in selection topics” or “My job is to captain and these are issues that the cricket board should address and are not my problem”. As coach, especially in the environment SLC operates today, Sri Lanka needs someone who is authoritative and assertive, not just with the players but also with the selectors and administrators.
Sri Lanka is a team that is yet again in transition. Sri Lanka’s four best cricketers are all expected retire from all forms of the game immediately after the world cup in 2015, with only Herath possibly playing for a little longer. While two of Sri Lanka’s greatest leaders, Sangakara and Mahela are still around, Sri Lanka might get away with a coach lacking in leadership. However, looking in to the future with Sri Lanka having to prepare for a transition from experienced legends to talented youth, a laidback, low key coach like Marvan Attapattu might not be what is right for Sri Lanka cricket.
Tom Moody and Chandika Hathrusinghe are two names that come to mind when thinking of coaches who are best suited to transform a young team in to a successful professional outfit. However, neither one of them, like many other qualified candidates, are likely to be interested in taking the job under the current administration. It is true that SLC has narrowed their selection to the final two. However, it is also true that this same administration did not shy away from any moral or professional obligation to honor their word in the past under certain circumstances. Given his experience and proven ability to shape a group of very talented young cricketers in to a professional outfit that won a world cup and his familiarity with Sri Lanka cricket, to not consider Dave Whatmore for the Sri Lankan job could be a catastrophic mistake!