Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Graham Ford has stepped down as Sri Lanka’s head coach after being with the national team for 15 months.
Ford was appointed as head coach in February last year and during his time in charge, Sri Lanka whitewashed Australia 3-0 in a Test series, won an ODI tri-series in Zimbabwe and beat Australia in a Twenty20 series earlier this year.
It is understood that relations between Ford and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had begun to turn frosty as the 56-year-old was growing increasingly frustrated with the board interfering in team matters.
Reports also indicate that he was unhappy with the increasing powers that were given to Asanka Gurusinha, who was hired as the “cricket manager” in February. However, since then, Gurusinha has also been made a selector.
“It’s been a privilege to work with these talented young men over the past 15 months. Their passion for the sport is inspiring, as is indeed this nation’s,” Ford said. “Sri Lanka has grown on me, and although we’ve made the decision to part ways where coaching is concerned, she will always have a little piece of my heart.
“I look forward to sitting up on that beautiful Fort down in Galle and taking in a bird’s eye view of Sri Lanka’s special brand of cricket – this time without having to chew my nails to the bone!
“I wish Sri Lanka Cricket and the boys the very best, and I must offer a word of advice to the young men – Always believe in yourself, believe in your team, and play from your heart.”
SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala added: “We have to thank Fordy for his invaluable contribution to Sri Lanka Cricket.
“He joined us at a time where we were quoted by the ICC as being on the ‘verge of suspension’ and at a time where things were volatile and uncertain, Ford had faith in us & has given us his fullest support.
“This was a decision arrived at mutually after careful consideration and deliberation and we are both confident of its propriety.
“Ford epitomizes the character of cricket as a true gentleman, and we are indeed sorry to see him go. We wish him the very best in where his path lies.”
Ford’s contract was supposed to run until the conclusion of the 2019 World Cup, but now that he has stepped down, it remains to be seen whether SLC will choose a temporary replacement or find a permanent successor.
Sri Lanka’s next assignment will be a home series against Zimbabwe, which will consist of five ODIs and a one-off Test match.