Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) coaching department is set for a major overhaul and a key talking point among those vacant positions is the role of a spin bowling coach.
Sri Lanka Cricket’s coaching department is set for a major…
SLC had advertised for the post of spin bowling coach and will decide on the candidate after Chandika Hathurusingha returns to Colombo from Sydney, where he is based. The head coach returned to Australia for a break after his first passage as coach for Sri Lanka which ended with the Nidahas Trophy in March.
We at ThePapare.com take a look at the most likely candidates to fill the vacant spin bowling coach position.
- Ruwan Kalpage
There are plenty of overseas candidates for the spin bowling coach position, but former Sri Lanka all-rounder Ruwan Kalpage remains as one of the top choices. Kalpage has had a long association with SLC, having functioned in many different roles such as fielding coach, spin bowling coach and computer analyst. He was also part of the coaching staff with Hathurusingha in Bangladesh.
- Muttiah Muralitharan
The champion off-spinner has shown reluctance to be involved with SLC, but he remains an option with most young Sri Lankan spin bowlers looking up to him as kids growing up. He has had brief stints as a bowling coach with a few teams around the world and is currently involved with the IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad. He has also worked with the Australian cricket team as a spin bowling consultant in 2014 and 2016.
- Mushtaq Ahmed
Former Pakistan legspinner Mushtaq Ahmed is a prominent name among overseas candidates reportedly being considered by Sri Lanka Cricket for the position. Mushtaq, who has expressed interest in the position, has previously worked with England and Pakistan.
- Saqlain Mushtaq
Known to be the inventor of the ‘Doosra’, Saqlain Mushtaq was one of Pakistan’s most successful off-spinners. In May 2016, Saqlain was appointed by the England and Wales Cricket Board(ECB) as England’s spin consultant for the home series against Pakistan. Ever since, he’s worked closely on a few occasions with the ECB and remains in the loop as a candidate for the vacant position at SLC.
- Niroshan Bandaratilleke
This classical left arm orthodox bowler only managed to play seven Tests and three ODIs for Sri Lanka, but since his retirement he has been making decent strides in the coaching arena. He has worked closely with the SLC and most top Sri Lankan players are close with him which might work in his favor if SLC decides to go with a local option.
- Ajith Ekanayake
A very similar bowler to Bandaratilleke, Ajith Ekanayake was impressive with his accuracy domestically though he couldn’t make it to the highest level. He was a crafty bowler in the domestic circuit who could land the ball on the same spot all day and had 600+ first class wickets to show for his efforts. He has worked with age group teams within SLC and might be the calm head the Sri Lankan spin bowlers need at present.
- Sunil Joshi
Former India left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi remains another strong contender for the spin bowling coach role, having worked as Bangladesh’s spin bowling consultant during Hathurusinghe’s tenure as the head coach of Bangladesh. Joshi made his international debut in 1996 and took 110 wickets in a career spanning 15 Tests and 69 ODIs. He ended his first-class career in 2011 with 615 wickets in 160 matches. He subsequently coached domestic teams Hyderabad in 2011, Jammu & Kashmir in 2014, and Assam in 2016. He had also served as Oman’s spin bowling consultant in the World Twenty20 in India in 2016.
- Daniel Vettori
Daniel Vettori, by far New Zealand’s most successful spinner, signed a 3-year contract in 2015 to become head coach of Brisbane Heat, effectively ending his playing career in all forms of the game. He is currently the head coach of the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League and Middlesex in the T20 Blast. It will be interesting to see if he takes up an international offer for the first time which effectively could end his coaching responsibilities with the above mentioned domestic teams.