Colombo: Former captain Marvan Atapattu was today appointed as the Sri Lankan cricket team's interim head coach, following the resignation of Paul Farbrace earlier this week.
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) also named former fielding coach and off-spinner Ruwan Kalpage as Atapattu's assistant. Atapattu's appointment makes him the island nation's seventh coach in the last four years. The appointments were made for Sri Lanka's upcoming tour of the Ireland and England as well as the home series against South Africa, SLC confirmed.
Atapattu, who has been the team's assistant as well as batting coach for the last three years, had applied for the top job when Graham Ford had announced he would vacate the job. He had progressed to the final round of interviews in November last, before SLC appointed Farbrace.
The appointments had been made on the recommendations of a three-man coach selection committee, comprising of chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya, head of coaching Jerome Jayaratne, and cricket committee chairman Ranjit Fernando.
"We should look to give responsibility to Marvan, because he's been around for a few years. The bowling and fielding coaches will also have to take a lot of responsibility," Jayasuriya had said.
Atapattu, a right-hand batsman, played 90 Tests, 268 one-dayers and two Twenty20 internationals in a career that spanned 17 years before he retired in 2007. He scored 5,502 Test runs at an average of 39.02 with 16 centuries. His 8,529 one-day runs included 11 hundreds. Sri Lanka play four Tests, 10 ODIs and a T20 international in their two upcoming series.