Renaissance surprises coach Ford


Sri Lanka coach, Graham Ford, has expressed surprise at the speed with which the team has begun to regenerate after disappointing performances in England left the islanders lamenting the recent retirements of it's stalwarts.

A number of encouraging performances from young players in the recent series against Australia have given Ford hope.

Batsman Kusal Mendis and left-arm wristspinner Lakshan Sandakan are among Sri Lanka's surprise packages with allrounder Dhananjaya de Silva also impressing.

Ford said: "In one of the first press conferences that I had when I took over again, I said that you just can't put a time frame on how long the rebuilding process will take,

"But the way some of the young guys are starting to put in high-quality performances – I wasn't expecting that to happen as quickly as it has, against such high quality opposition.

"One of the beauties of selecting young guys is that even if they fail, you'll get some return. If you make the investment you will get something back down the line. Older guys, who are perhaps past their best – when they fail, you're not going to get much back.

"I think that's been a view of the selection panel as well. It's been exciting to see and I'm a little bit surprised to see them doing as well as quick they have.

"But we've still got a long, long way to go. They will still disappoint us from time to time. But with the attitude that they've got and the work ethic, we've seen some exciting signs for the future."

Ford was equally impressed by the way Dinesh Chandimal took responsibility in the first innings of the third Test.

The coach added: "Chandi's probably enjoyed the other fine innings that he's played, but this was probably the most valuable innings he's played,

"I know he played a blinder against India sometime back, but this one for temperament and fight in difficult conditions goes down as his best hundred.

"Chandi's certainly showed a lot of maturity and he helped Dhananjaya through that big innings of his. Batting in those circumstances is not fun at all. I think Chandi took on the hard work, which shows great maturity.

"It's something that the team are talking a lot about – about doing the hard work for the rest of the team, doing the hard work for their mates. Chandi showed a real example of that, digging in and fighting really hard."

Ford is yet to nail down his best XI or the batting order and is keen to experiment with new combinations.

He continued: "I think the batting order is still a work in progress. Some of these young guys that are batting in the lower order are top-order players. They may in time be moved up the order. That's something that we'll have to think long and hard about."

After the Australian series, Sri Lanka will face a tough trip to South Africa in December.