Former Sri Lanka coach Marvan Atapattu is set to continue in his role as a batting consultant for the Zimbabwe national cricket team with the two parties angling for a long term arrangement.
Atapattu, who worked with Zimbabwe’s batsmen in Bangladesh in the four match T-20 series against the hosts, is expected in the country on Monday to begin work as the national team resumes camp.
He will link up with coach Dave Whatmore and bowling coach Makhaya Ntini, who was unveiled on Wednesday by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC).
Ntini is in Bulawayo where he is monitoring players in the domestic T-20 competition and will be traveling to Harare next week.
Initially, ZC had planned to make a decision on Atapattu taking the role on a long term basis after the Bangladesh tour, but a review will be done after the World T-20 in India next month.
Atapattu told CricInfo in an interview that not much could be achieved after working with the team for ten days.
Yesterday ZC board chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani confirmed Atapattu’s involvement with the team had been extended.
“He is coming, he will be with the team until after the World T-20 that is when we will review the relationship,” he said. “During the Bangladesh tour he said he wanted to familiarise with the team, so he is coming in to work with the other coaches ahead of the tournament.”
Zimbabwe will be looking to improve their batting, having exhibited positive signs in the final two matches of their tour against Bangladesh where they won both games.
Whatmore’s side lost the first two matches where the batting was not particularly up to scratch with the team recording scores of 163 and 125 in 20 overs each. In the final two matches the batting had improved with Zimbabwe scoring 187 and 180.
With the World T-20 being played in the sub-continent, Atapattu’s experience and expertise will be invaluable for Zimbabwean batsmen who have always struggled in the sub-continent.
Atapattu played 90 Tests, scoring 5 502 runs at an average of 39,02 with a high score of 249 runs.
In ODI cricket he played 268 matches scoring 8 529 runs at an average of 37,57.
He has had coaching stints with Canada as a batting coach before taking charge of Singapore. He then became his home country’s batting coach in 2011 before his elevation to become assistant coach in 2013.
In 2014 he became the head coach on an interim basis during which period Sri Lanka won their first Test series in England after 16 years.
In September of the same year he officially became the team’s head coach, a position he resigned from last year after back to back Test series defeats to Pakistan and India.
If he is to become Zimbabwe’s batting coach, he will replace Andy Waller who was fired last year.
ZC tried to court Grant Flower, who is batting coach for Pakistan, but the former Zimbabwe batsman chose to see out his contract.'