Skip to main content

Simon Willis to join Sri Lanka Cricket

Monday 23rd May 2016

Kent Cricket high performance director Simon Willis has been appointed high performance manager at Sri Lanka Cricket.

The former wicketkeeper-batsman will leave the club later this month after 23 years’ service as player and coach for the new role.

Willis has been a key figure in the prolific Kent Cricket Academy, established in 2003 after he represented the county’s first XI between 1993 and 1999.

In more than a decade of coaching at Kent, Willis has helped to nurture six future England internationals including Tammy Beaumont, Sam Billings, Joe Denly and Lydia Greenway among 25 players that went on to play senior cricket for Kent.

The 42-year-old said: “It has been both an honour and a privilege to have been involved with Kent County Cricket Club for the last 23 years.”

“There have been some very memorable moments during my time and I am very grateful for the opportunities and experiences Kent County Cricket Club has given me.

“I have been very lucky to work with some great people over the years and would like to thank everyone: management, captains, players, coaches, staff and of course the amazing Kent members and supporters for their unwavering dedication and support which has made my time at Kent so enjoyable.

“The current squad has some real talent and are showing a strong sense of togetherness. With a core group of good young players who will continue to grow and develop I’m certain there will be some special times ahead for everyone involved at the Club.”

Simon will take up the post later this month and former Kent and England spinner Min Patel will assume his coaching duties with the second XI and Academy in the interim while a successor is recruited.

The Greenwich-born coach said: “I am very grateful to Sri Lanka Cricket for offering me this exciting new opportunity. I am very much looking forward to getting started and the challenges ahead – it’s going to be a great journey.

“I see it as an exciting time to get involved with Sri Lanka Cricket and I am looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together.

“Ultimately it will be about creating an environment that meets the needs of the players and allows them to continue to develop and improve.

“If they are talented, work hard, get the right backing and enjoy what they are doing then they will have a better chance of succeeding in my opinion.”

Kent Cricket CEO Jamie Clifford said: "Whilst we are very sorry to see Simon move on from Kent we are excited for him and the challenges that lie ahead at Sri Lanka Cricket.

“Simon will leave a lasting legacy at the Club in the many players – men and women – that have come through a well-run Kent Cricket Academy programme.

“I am sure he will look on from afar and enjoy the future successes that lie ahead for those Academy graduates and the Club.

“We wish him well and thank him for 23 years of fine service to the Club. He will be much missed and will always be welcome at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence."