The Sunday Leader

Ford: “Believe in yourself and play from your heart”

  • Departing Coach has touching message for players

Graham Ford has stepped down as Sri Lanka coach, ending his second tenure with the side after 15 months. SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala said the decision had been arrived at mutually, “after careful consideration and deliberation”.

Bidding adieu to Sri Lanka Cricket, Graham Ford stated;

“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.

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”

Ford’s contract was slated until the end of the 2019 World Cup, a duration he insisted on when he took up the role last year because of the instability surrounding the job. Since 2011, Sri Lanka have had eight head coaches (including interim appointments) in nine separate stints – Ford having worked two shifts: 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, a whitewash of Australia last year, but many of the remaining assignments Sri Lanka have had under his watch have produced disappointing results.

Sumathipala acknowledged Ford’s role in handling the team at a time when Sri Lanka cricket faced a “volatile and uncertain” period.

“We have to thank Fordy for his invaluable contribution to Sri Lanka Cricket,” Sumathipala stated in the SLC press release. “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 and 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.”

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