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DateLine Thursday, 24 May 2007

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Government Gazette

Good bye Moody!

Australian Tom Moody ended his stint as coach of the Sri Lanka team. Mahela Jayawardene and his men dedicated their final match under Moody to their dedicated coach.

It turned out to be a grand farewell when Sri Lanka crushed Pakistan by 115 runs to give a fitting present to Moody, who guided Sri Lanka team all the way to the ICC World Cup finals.

Despite a few ups and downs in the early part of his stint as Sri Lanka coach, Moody transformed the Lankans into a fighting unit.

It was evident in the recent World Cup where the Lankans proved their ability to handle crunch situations.

Moody made an immense contribution to Sri Lanka cricket during his mission here and finished second only to his countryman Dav Whatmore, under whose coaching Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996.

But Moody failed to emulate Whatmoreís feat as Sri Lanka lost last monthís final to Australia.

Nevertheless, nobody could deny the fact that Moody made a lavish contribution to Sri Lanka cricket and his absence would be badly felt.

Moody too was in two minds whether to remain here or not but he was compelled to give priority to his family commitments.

Moody is one of the few men who has internationally proved that money is not everything.

His decision to quit Sri Lanka team also carries a message on a true role of a father. It is no secret that Sri Lanka offered him a 50% salary hike, if he renews his contract.

But a true family man, Moody politely refused that huge pay packet and decided to go back to Australia to be with his family.

He knows that this is the time his children and wife need his presence the most. He was not willing to let the dollars to come before his family commitments.

His success with the Sri Lanka even makes him a strong candidate to become the new Australian coach. Being an Australian, it would have been a memorable feat and pride for him to coach the world champions.

But when he had a look at the international calendar of the Australian team, he found they would have more away matches than home. Finally, he had to kick aside that would be golden opportunity and settle with the Western Australian state side, which would enable him to spend more time with his family.

True that all of us would feel sad to lose him at this juncture but at the same time should pay tribute to his bold decision to honour family commitments. It is a good example for all those who run after money and glory, forgetting their priorities.

Now, itís the time for globe shopping for Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to find a successor to Moody. The SLC is right in taking time to find a suitable replacement. We need not panic or be in a hurry to find another foreign coach. As the SLC is planning to do, we could well have an interim coach before picking the right man for the job.

Unlike in most other countries, it has now become customary for the subcontinent teams to go after foreign coaches. There was a long debate on suitability of foreign coaches until Whatmore proved a point beyond reasonable doubt.

It is extremely difficult for a local to coach a subcontinent team as people would lobby for favourites. Even if the coach plays a neutral role, interested parties would make sinister move to throw a local coach, if he fails to take orders from influential politicians and big names in society.

Hence, it has come to a stage when we are compelled to accept foreign coaches whether we like it or not. On the other hand, itís unfair by qualified local coaches who dream of coaching their Motherland one day.

It is understood that the authorities have earmarked about six foreign coaches and the hunt is on for the best head. Both Whatmore and Moody maintained a close rapport with the players but at the same time, they knew where to draw the like when it came to serious business. Moody was a fatherly figure to his players, who would miss him too badly.

But no one is indispensable in this world. Whatever happens, Sri Lanka team will have to maintain their professional approach and make every endeavour to be a strong force in World cricket.

The SLC must use all channels in their bid to find an equally clever replacement. Sometimes big names do matter. Paper qualifications too would be important.

But those are not the sole ingredients to make a complete and successful coach. A coach should have a true human heart with excellent communication skills.

We hope the Sri Lanka Cricket would play a straight bat and find a quality replacement to fill the void created by Moody. We wish Tom Moody all success in his future endeavours. Thank you Moody, for being a part of the Sri Lankan cricketing family.


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