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Sri Lanka Cricket make new appointments Mendis reappointed chief selector, Atapattu is batting coach


Sri Lanka Cricket make new appointments
Mendis reappointed chief selector, Atapattu is batting coach


Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has moved swiftly to bring back some sanity amid the chaos that prevailed in the aftermath of the defeat in the World Cup final by appointing two respected former players as chief selector and batting coach of the team.
Former Sri Lanka captains Duleep Mendis and Marvan Atapattu have been assigned fresh roles as SLC recover from the twin resignations of skipper Kumar Sangakkara and his deputy Mahela Jayawardena followed by the entire selection committee headed by Aravinda de Silva.
Mendis, Sri Lanka’s first ever Test captain, has been reappointed as chairman of the selection committee while Atapattu, one of the technically correct batsman Sri Lanka has produced, will be the batting coach, the Sunday Observer reported.
Manager of the team when Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996 led by Arjuna Ranatunga, Mendis, 58, is a veteran administrator having served as Chief Executive Officer of SLC. A powerful striker of the ball who led Sri Lanka to its first ever Test victory against India in 1986, Mendis represented the country in 24 Tests and 79 one-day internationals. One of the high points of his distinguished career was scoring twin centuries in the one-off Test against India in Chennai in 1982.
The other members of the new selection committee are Brendon Kuruppu, Ranjith Madurasinghe, Chaminda Mendis and Don Anurasiri.
Atapattu, 40, has been preferred over Mendis’ one-time deputy Roy Dias, who had returned to the island after long stint as coach of Nepal, according to the Sunday Observer.
A veteran of 90 Tests and 268 ODI, Atapattu is arguably one of the finest opening batsman of his generation, scoring 16 centuries and 59 fifties after a dubious start to his Test career. Making his Test debut in November 1990 just after his 20th birthday, his first six innings yielded five ducks and a 1.
However, he holds the distinction of converting six of his ‘tons’ into double centuries - a feat bettered only by Don Bradman (12), Wally Hammond, Mahela Jayawardene and Brian Lara (seven each).
In addition, he has aggregated 8,529 runs in ODIs at an average of 37.59 with 11 centuries and 59 fifties.
The former Sri Lanka captain, Atapattu, towards the end of his career joined the Indian Cricket League (ICL) and captained the Delhi Giants. He also has experience of coaching the Singapore national team.
He was controversially left out of the squad for the 2007 Cricket World Cup, and as a result, asked for his removal from the list of Sri Lanka contracted players.
Interestingly, Atapattu was to miss the 2007-08 tour of Australia, but was added to the squad after the intervention of the then Sri Lankan Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge.
Atapattu played solidly in the first Test, but subsequently angrily labelled the selectors: “A set of Muppets, basically, headed by a joker,” at a post-stumps press conference.
He is one of the few international batsmen who has scored centuries against all Test-playing nations.
SLC, meanwhile, has advertised for the position of Sri Lanka national coach following the departure of Australian Trevor Bayliss. His deputy, Stuart Law, has been appointed as interim coach for Sri Lanka’s tour of England next month.
Champaka Ramanayake and Ruwan Kalpage are the bowling and fielding coaches.
SLC will not name a successor to head coach Bayliss until after the tour of England which starts next month, according to another report.
SLC interim committee chairman DS de Silva said because of the time factor they had appointed Stuart Law as interim coach for the England tour.     
Law, a former Australian cricketer, is one of four coaches short-listed by SLC to succeed Bayliss.      
“We've given Law a chance to handle the team on the England tour and see whether he is going to fit into the scene,” said De Silva.              
The other three coaches in the running for the top job are former coach Tom Moody, former assistant coach Trevor Penney and Mathew Maynard, the former England cricketer presently director of cricket at Glamorgan.              
“We knew about two months ago that Trevor Bayliss was leaving so we advertised in the web and papers as well both internationally and locally. Nine responded from which we shortlisted five persons,” said De Silva.          
“Everybody showed interest to undertake the head coach position. We already interviewed two of them on the phone. One of the nine was (former Australian coach) John Buchanan.
“We wrote to Buchanan and he gave his terms but we cannot afford it. We have dropped him from the list,” he added.               
“Moody is due to come back to us. When he was here we had a long chat with him and he showed some interest in the job.”     
De Silva said that Penney and Maynard would be invited shortly to come to Sri Lanka and make a presentation.
He confirmed Atapattu has also been approached to become the national team's batting coach.              
“We'll take a decision on Monday whether to appoint Marvan as the batting coach for the England tour,” said De Silva. 
Sri Lanka play a series of three Tests and five one-day internationals on the tour of England.
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