The Singapore Cricket Association (SCA) has engaged the services of former Sri Lankan captain Marvan Atapattu on a year-long contract as their Director of Coaching. Atapattu’s first outing with Singapore’s national squad will be at the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 5 in Nepal this February.

Marvan, 39, who retired from international cricket two years ago, having scored more than 14000 runs at the highest level, is upbeat about his first full-time assignment as a national coach. “I am looking forward to this assignment and to help Singapore Cricket. In the short time that I’ve been here I’ve seen just how talented some of the team are. We need to get the right people and management for the team and to encourage them. The team has the talent, they just need to believe it themselves,” says the new Singapore coach.

In March 2009 Marvan worked with Canada Cricket as their batting coach for just over a month during the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in South Africa. Canada finished second in the tournament qualifying for the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

“The difference between Canada and Singapore is that Canada Cricket have a group of cricketers who are professionals. It is much easier to work with players who are committed full-time,” he added.

Marvan spoke of the relatively few number of cricketers in Singapore and the need to increase them. Because of a compulsion of National Service, where they serve a two-year attachment to either the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force or the Singapore Civil Defense Force, Marvan acknowledges that “there is a huge loss of players between the ages of 19 and 21. My task is not only to coach the national side but also to look at increasing the numbers of Singaporeans playing and enjoying this beautiful game.”

In July 2009, the SCA appointed Australia’s Trevor Chappell as coach and a month later Singapore were triumphant at the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 6. Singapore were undefeated in that tournament, winning the final against Bahrain by 68 runs. Marvan, having worked under Chappell when he was Sri Lanka’s fielding coach in 1999, credited the win to both coach and the players.

“It is now my duty to take Singapore to Division 4. I will strongly focus on the fitness of the players in the upcoming weeks to get them ready. Sri Lanka’s Test and ODI captain between 2003 and 2006, Marvan also spoke on passing on all his experience to his players. “I will be honest with them and pass on my thoughts, but they are only that, thoughts. The captain and players have to read the situations and need to trust their gut feeling. That will come with experience,” he said.

After the completion of the WCL Division 5 tournament, Marvan will oversee the coaching of the U-16 squad as they prepare for the ACC U-16 Elite Cup in Nepal in March.

“ACC Development Manager, fellow Sri Lankan, Bandula Warnapura says of Marvan, “It’s rare to get three things from a coach as you do with Marvan; batting, fielding, captaincy. He’s played at the highest level with a certain class and if he could even bat a little in front of the Singapore players they will learn a lot just by watching him. I expect him and the team to do well.”

Singapore Cricket Profile
Marvan Atapattu Cricinfo Profile

Filed Feb 1st, 2010