Sri Lanka hire Ford to defend World T20

Colombo, January 29

Sri Lanka’s cricket board on Friday confirmed it would rehire Graham Ford as head coach to help the national team defend its World Twenty20 title in India, after his English club announced his departure.

The 55-year-old South African previously coached Sri Lanka from 2012 until 2014 before taking over the reins at English county championship title-holder Surrey. “The new board of Sri Lanka Cricket head-hunted Ford to be the new head coach and prepare the team for the World T20,” SLC official told AFP. “His term will be for 45 months starting Monday.”

The contract period would also cover the 2019 World Cup hosted by England and Wales. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) declined to give further details of the contract. Local officials said he would start by preparing the team to defend the World T20 title, with its recent poor form leading it to fall to second position in the T20 rankings, after the West Indies.

The World T20 will be held at stadiums throughout India from March 8, with the final to be played at the historic Eden Gardens in Kolkata on April 3. Sri Lanka has also been hit by the retirement of legends such as Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.

Ford worked with Sangakkara at Surrey and last season guided the club to the county championship second division title. “We are extremely disappointed to be losing Graham Ford, who has not just been an outstanding head coach but has played an integral role in the progress that we have achieved over the last two years,” Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart told the club’s official website on Thursday.