Impressive stint in Lanka by Trevor Bayliss

Rex Clementine, in the Island, 27 March 2011, with different title

When Tom Moody left the Sri Lankan coaching position in 2007, he was asked to provide recommendations for his successor. The first name he suggested was that of Jamie Siddons and the Sri Lankan board almost appointed him. After agreeing to take over, Siddons went back on his words as he was compelled to stay back in Australia due to family commitments. (A few months later, Siddons accepted the coaching job of Bangladesh, a position he still holds.) Moody’s second recommendation happened to be Trevor Bayliss. Siddons was prolific for Victoria in the Sheffield Shied and had played a One-Day international for Australia, but Bayliss’ experience was restricted to 58 first class matches for New South Wales.

He was hardly known as well and The Island carried his first interview after he was appointed. After spending four years in the job, he is not as famous as some of his other Australian counterparts, but his record is as good as any Sri Lankan coach barring Dav Whatmore, country’s World Cup winning coach.

If Sri Lanka goes onto win the World Cup, Bayliss will have to be rated the most successful Sri Lankan coach for an impressive run during his four year tenure. During that period, Sri Lanka recorded their first ever Test win in the Caribbean and the first ever Test series win against Pakistan to complete series wins against all Test playing nations. Bayliss never lost a home Test series. Of the seven home series he was in-charge, Sri Lanka won five. In fact of the 12 Test series he has been in charge, Sri Lanka lost just two (in Australia in 2007 and India in 2009).

From a distance, he appears to be a very diplomatic person and the kind of coach who gives the players a free hand. He also appears to be a fine gentlemen and a very cooperative. But at the same time, he comes out as an introvert. Maybe the situation here where politics even comes into play in team selections wasn’t the ideal situation for Bayliss to express himself more.

The other highlights during his tenure were winning the Asia Cup and reaching the finals of the T-20 World Cup. Bayliss’ record as coach in Test cricket was far superior to ODI cricket. Sri Lanka went onto claim the number two position of the ICC Test championship and had a chance of becoming the number one ranked team in the world on two occasions.

Following the success in the 2007 World Cup, Sri Lanka weren’t able to reproduce the same consistent performances in ODI cricket. Their standing in ODI cricket slipped to as low as number seven once. He started off with a series defeat to England at home and then Sri Lanka failed to reach the finals of the tri-nation competition in Australia immediately afterwards. There were also three series defeats to India at home during his four year tenure. But after the struggles, Sri Lanka seemed to be hitting the right tone just before the World Cup and the highlight of Sri Lankan cricket in the year 2010 was a first ever series win on Australian soil.

Bayliss after the World Cup will join New South Wales, his former team, as the Head Coach of the state side.

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