Ford's Resignation A Possibility After Strained Relation With SLC

Coach Graham Ford's relationship with Sri Lanka Cricket is understood to have become imperiled due to what Ford believes are unacceptable intrusions into team matters by the board. Neither SLC nor Ford have made any official comments, but Ford's resignation does appear a possibility. Ford is presently out of the island on leave, which is due to end early next week.

Among Ford's grievances appear to be the expanding powers of Asanka Gurusinha, who in February was appointed "cricket manager" - a position with a broadly defined range of duties, some of which Ford is understood to have felt infringed upon his freedom as a coach. In the time since his appointment, Gurusinha was also made a selector.

Though there are no reports of a personal rift between the two men, it is understood Ford was made to feel less than fully in control of his team during the recent Champions Trophy. Ford had since met with the board in Colombo but, before his departure from Sri Lanka, struck an optimistic tone about the team's prospects, saying: "The character that [the team] continues to show is really exciting. If we get a bit of experience among the younger players and we continue to keep that fight - that kind of spirit is really important if we're going to build and become a highly competitive team."

Ford's contract with SLC runs to the end of the 2019 World Cup - a term Ford had insisted on when he accepted the job last year, because of the position's patent instability. Since 2011, Sri Lanka have had nine head coaches (including interim appointments) in ten separate stints - Ford having worked a double shift: from 2012 to 2014, then again from February last year to now.

SLC had hired Ford largely because of his excellent global reputation for managing young players - a skill seen as vital to Sri Lanka's progress following some high-profile player retirements. He oversaw one of the team's greatest ever Test series victories, against Australia last year, but many of the remaining assignments Sri Lanka have had under his watch have produced disappointing results.

Ford, however, has always insisted that it would be years before Sri Lanka becomes a top cricketing nation again, and saw his role as a long-term facilitator of the rebuilding process. The lack of short-term results, however, had prompted SLC to appoint of new coaching and management staff. This difference in expectation is what has partly led to the loss of faith.


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