Ford: No quick fix for Sri Lanka
Graham Ford has been tasked with rebuilding Sri Lankan cricket after the recent retirements of mainstays Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
Ford has cautioned that the rebuilding process is going to take some time, but the South African is looking forward to the challenge.
The former Surrey coach told ESPN Cricinfo he wants to build a lasting legacy with Sri Lanka: "It was pretty clear to everybody that we spoke to that it wasn't going to be a quick fix."
"It was something that needed to be built on a solid foundation. It's quite a long, slow process."
"If it's done properly, then hopefully it stays strong for a long time."
Sri Lanka thrive on being the underdog and Ford is keen to see that fighting spirit come through: "A lot of people around the world have always enjoyed Sri Lanka because it's a small island with a small population and a small budget, yet they've always been able to go toe to toe with the big guns."
"They've been brave even when opposition has been bigger, taller and more imposing. I think that's what Sri Lanka is all about, and we need to get that all firing again."
The Sri Lankan batting lineup has taken a lot of flack but Ford feels that all areas of Sri Lankas game need work: "In terms of which areas require attention – it's pretty clear we need to improve all of them."
"We need more allrounders, because we have a long tail, always. We don't have seam-bowling allrounders in particular."
"We need to develop a solid top order, where there is a lot of talent."
"We also need to find some good pace – someone to partner Dushmantha Chameera. We need to find depth in the fast-bowling unit as well, to account for injuries."
"There are also some talented young spin bowlers, but when Rangana Herath finally stops, we haven't got what we've had for so long with Muttiah Muralitharan and Rangana. There are a few spinners who could get there, but they need some time to develop."
The Durban born coach cannot fully account for Sri Lanka's struggles with bat in hand but believes the problems may boil down to an issue with their fundamental technique: "I can't say exactly what's causing the problem."
"If we're talking about playing in England, quite a number of them have had to make adjustments to their technique, which is a hell of a difficult thing when you've played one way all your life."
"It's tough to stick to those changes when the adrenaline's pumping and the ball is whizzing around. You revert to what's natural to you."
According to Ford long term improvements to coaching are needed to ensure players arrive on the international scene with a solid technical base: "Going forward, it seems as though the board's vision is for the coaching at the emerging and development levels to be really good."
"Hopefully the necessary technical requirements are well entrenched by the time they get to the national level. "
Ford has committed himself to Sri Lanka until 2019 and will be looking to get the island nation back to it's best, it remains to be seen how long the board maintain their patience with Ford if he fails to improve on current performances.
Sri Lanka take on England in the third and final Test at Lord's on June 9 and after seeing some improvement in their second innings of the second Test Ford will be hoping the trend continues and Sri Lanka put in a positive performance if not achieve a positive result.
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