ONE “Sri Lanka will always have a little piece of my heart- Ford,” in Rex Clementine, Sunday Island, 24 June 2017
Sri Lanka’s Head Coach Graham Ford, who parted ways with Sri Lanka Cricket yesterday has said that the country will always be a special place for him. Ford (57) was Sri Lanka’s Head Coach from 2012 to 2014 and rejoined the SLC last January. He was contracted with SLC until the 2019 World Cup. However, deviation of the Head Coach’s duties to the newly created position of Cricket Manager is believed to have left a bad taste in the much respected coach’s mouth. He quit the Sri Lankan coaching job after the recent Champions Trophy. SLC made the announcement yesterday.
Two decades ago, Ford was handpicked by none other than Bob Woolmer to be his Assistant Coach with South Africa. Ford nurtured the careers of several young South Africans like Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock, Mark Boucher and Makaya Ntini. He took over from Woolmer as South Africa’s Head Coach in 1999 and enjoyed unprecedented success including a Test series win in India, something even the great John Buchanan struggled to achieve. Apart from coaching Sri Lanka and South Africa, Ford also had stints with English counties, Kent and Surrey.
“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,” Ford said in a statement released by SLC. “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 also transformed the game of Sri Lankan star Kumar Sangakkara. While there was no doubt about Sanga’s class when it came to Test cricket, his numbers are astonishing under Ford in ODIs. Sanga scored 12 ODI hundreds and averaged 36 prior to Ford’s arrival. Since he took over as Sri Lanka’s coach, Sanga for the next three years scored 13 ODI hundreds and averaged a massive 55.
“We have to thank Fordy for his invaluable contribution to Sri Lanka Cricket. Ford epitomises the character of cricket as a true gentleman, and we are indeed sorry to see him go. We wish him the very best in where his path lies,” SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala said.