Is it Waugh or Whatmore?
By Marlon Fernandopulle
Despite a legal snag looming over the governance of Sri Lanka Cricket, the Sports Minister appointed Interim Committee which has got down to business is set to appoint a new coach in one of their first official moves very shortly.

Sri Lanka's current coach John Dyson's contract with Sri Lanka Cricket expired last month. However Dyson was given the green light to tour with the team to New Zealand for the two tests, which were postponed from last December to April this year after the tsunami hit the island to cut short the tour.

Speaking to The Sunday Times Interim Committee Secretary, Tryphon Mirando confirmed that a new coach would be appointed shortly." As Dyson's contract has expired, we need to appoint a coach. This is one of our top priorities. We will be speaking to Dyson and a few others before making a final decision".

The Sri Lanka Cricket team arrived yesterday minus coach Dyson who has gone back to Australia. It is very unlikely that Dyson will be retained as The Sunday Times learns that the former Australian opening batsman who was believed to have been paid a tidy sum has upped his stakes further.

Although one Australian has been ruled out The Sunday Times learns from reliable sources that two other Australians have emerged as possible contenders for the job. Sri Lanka's World Cup winning coach Dave Whatmore is one while former Australian Skipper Steve Waugh is another. Whatmore has already completed two successful stints with Sri Lanka and was also reported to have shown interest in coaching India who are also looking out for a replacement for John Wright following the current India-Pakistan series. The Lankan born Australian's last appointment was in 1999 when once again an Interim Committee was appointed to govern Sri Lanka Cricket.

Apart from appointing a new coach the Interim Committee will also have to finalise player contracts and a team sponsor shortly. Although Players contracts with Sri Lanka Cricket expired in February, fresh contracts were not signed, much to the disappointment of the players. However Secretary of the IC Mirando said, "We will be speaking to the players individually and finalising their contracts soon".

The IC Secretary also confirmed that the Manager of the Sri Lanka Cricket team Brendon Kuruppu had sought official permission from the IC to release Sanath Jayasuriya, Chaminda, Vaas and Upul Chandana to represent the English Counties. The IC granted permission for the three cricketers who will now leave the island tomorrow for a brief stint with the English counties.

Meanwhile the legal crisis pertaining to Sri Lanka's cricket is set to continue after the Court of Appeal on Monday restraining sports minister Jeewan Kumaratunga, from dissolving or cancelling Sri Lanka Cricket's registration without a hearing until the completion of the case. However the suspension of SLC and the appointment of the IC which were gazetted on March 24 stands.

The complicated legal fight started on March 30 when Thilanga Sumathipala's executive committee, elected on March 27, filed a lawsuit to quash the sports minister's order to suspend the board on the grounds of financial mismanagement. Sumathipala also sealed off the board headquarters, sending home all the employees on paid leave, and extended the new year holidays until April 19 which eventually crippled the work of the six-man interim committee.


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