Replacing The Skipper Justified But Axing The Coach For A Relatively Unknown Replacement Defies Logic.
Posted on January 26th, 2012

Top Spin By Suni
January 26th 2012

 While Tillekeratne Dilshan’s resignation from the captaincy of all formats of Sri Lankan cricket comes as no surprise the news of an impemding axing of Coach Geoff Marsh certainly is. It seems harsh on someone whose task was not only daunting but faced many hurdles from various perspectives including political interference and considering what the team accomplished in South Africa under his direction after a spate of international losses he should have been acolladed as overall, given the huge odds against them the Lankans fought hard for a 2-1 Test  series and a 3-2 ODI series which was an excellent feat and nothing to be ashamed about.
 
The news  that Marsh has been replaced by a relatively unknown South African by name of Graeme Ford does not augur well for the principle involved in hiring a foreign coach of repute under contract and terminating it perhaps to suit the whims and fancies of certain decision makers within the cricket hierarchy lacking in decorum and perhaps self opinionated, petty and misguided considering Marsh’s replacement. It seems totally lacking in class and decorum, the manner in which Geoff Marsh has been treated and against the best interests of Sri Lanka Cricket where in the future reputed coaches may be hard to find as they could easily shun Sri Lanka as a prospective coaching assignment venue with very valid reason to do so and the consequences not conducive towards the glamour of having a foreign coach which of course is a mirage in the minds of some analysts.
 
While it needs to be remembered that the circumstances under which Geoff Marsh took over was certainly not to be envied and that there are others like Tom Moody who having been turned down for the job must now be breathing a sigh of relief, there were other issues which dictated the arduous nature of Marsh’s job which had relatively little or nothing to do with him and virtually beyond his control.
Issues which were administration related such as unpaid wages which was a heavy strain on some players and also disgruntlements within the dressing room related to alleged team disunity and a general hang dog mentality indicative of the lack of morale and inspiration which perhaps dragged the team down and at times even showed on the field and the end result the losses whereas after some of these issues were apparently resloved, the team fared much better as the overall record shows.
 
Considering that it was under the direction of Marsh that Sri Lanka achieved an historic Test win over South Africa and a resounding one at that on their own turf ending the spate of losses to England, Australia and Pakistan prior to the current series in South Africa and that the one day series could easily have gone Sri Lanka’s way bar the intervention of rain where they had an excellent chance of a win, it seems a pity that Marsh was not treated with a bit more respect rather than being dumped ignominiously if thats what his fate is or will be in the near future.
There is of course that low scoring game at Paarl where the Lankans were demolished through no fault of the coach and more than likely the collective responsibility of the team and skipper which is but a single glitch in what many believe is quite an equitable record for Marsh in all graciousness. Realistically Sri Lanka Cricket has much to thank him for being the influential coach as well as  genial and amicable personality he has always been in the eyes of the team and those who know him for his class. His start with Sri Lanka may have been a tad slower than expected but certainly looked promising towards the end but to some observers with clout watching probably ineffective if they were looking for a miracle worker which Marsh obviously wasn’t.
 
Will the replacement coach fare any better or  is he doomed to the same fate as Marsh in the event of Sri Lanka continuing to fail more than succeed ? is a question which will only be answered in time but whatever the case may be it is hoped that there will be no further political interference into the decision making of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board which needs to run independently and manned by personnel with integrity, decorum and most importantly a commanding knowledge of the game of cricket at international level where already there are rumblings from the Sports Ministry re- investigations,  seemingly autocratic personnel changes in the executive staff where a few previous contentious names have surfaced as replacement nominees, some  who contributed more to the detriment than the success of the team during their tenure which does not seem to augur well towards the future of Sri Lanka Cricket.
 
To cap it all up ( no pun intended ) the recall of Mahela Jayawardena as Captain and Dilshan’s replacement seems to have sparked off quite a commotion of allegations and counter allegations in political circles involving the UNP the JVP and of course the responses from the ruling party the UPFA and various pundits in cricketing circles  also throwing in their two cents worth seemingly quite commonplace in Sri Lanka today but if this is not discontinued and the Cricket Board not permitted to make their decisions  in a sane and reasonable manner there is every likelihood of a chaotic 2012 towards the progress and future of Sri Lanka Cricket in hindsight!
There seems to be no better candidate for the job at the present overviewing his experience, temperament and skills provided he accepts ( breaking news suggests that indeed he has !) where hopefully it will not affect his performance capabilities and is inspired to lead Sri Lanka to great heights beginning with the Tri Series to follow in Australia.
 
Thank You! Geoff Marsh, good luck in the future and similar sentiments to the new coach Graeme Ford who is probably thinking of the best body armour and helmet before he takes up his job !

One Response to “Replacing The Skipper Justified But Axing The Coach For A Relatively Unknown Replacement Defies Logic.”

  1. Sunil Mahattaya Says:

    Arjuna Ranatunga former Sri Lanka Skipper elite has made similar comments questioning the decision to terminate Geoff Marsh’s contract and he has done so scathingly. There is a lot of sense in what he seems to be saying and hopefully there will be no fallout from this apathetic decision. Geoff Marsh has showed his class and taken the decision in stride which speaks a lot for the gentleman he is.

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