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Top cricket job for survivor of terrorist ordeal

PUBLISHED: 16:30 05 August 2009 | UPDATED: 15:37 16 August 2010

A CRICKET coach who survived a horrific terrorist attack earlier in the year in which eight people died is set to return to Kent as first-team boss next season. Paul Farbrace, who was part of the Sri Lankan national team backroom staff, suffered shrapne

A CRICKET coach who survived a horrific terrorist attack earlier in the year in which eight people died is set to return to Kent as first-team boss next season.

Paul Farbrace, who was part of the Sri Lankan national team backroom staff, suffered shrapnel wounds in his right arm in the attack in March.

The 41-year-old and a team of talented international players were on a coach travelling to a match with Pakistan when it was set upon by 12 radicals in the volatile city of Lahore. Six policemen and two civilians died.

The former county wicket-keeper was also the academy director for the Canterbury-based outfit between 2004 and 2007. But he will now take over from current first-team coach Graham Ford, who led the county to three successive Twenty20 finals and a Friends Provident Trophy showpiece.

County chairman Graham Johnson admits that, while replacing the South African national will be hard, Mr Farbrace's knowledge of the county will be a huge plus. He said: "We are naturally sorry that Graham Ford cannot continue with the club next season, but are delighted that Paul Farbrace has agreed to come back to Kent.

"The changes we are making sustain the quality of our coaching team, respond to personal circumstances, reflect the changing domestic cricket environment and play to individual strengths.

"Critical to our decisions has been the desire to form a team of individuals with a passion for Kent Cricket who are able to work together in a flexible way to achieve our objectives."

Current Kent professional cricket manager Simon Willis, 34, a former Dartford player, spoke to Mr Farbrace moments after the 15-minute gun battle earlier this year.

Mr Farbrace gave Times columnist Mr Willis, his friend for more than two decades, a chilling account of the ambush. He said: "Paul told me there was open gunfire, people getting shot, and after that everything was pretty much blank.

"He lives in Sri Lanka and with the problem of the Tamil Tigers out there is very aware of the dangers of cricket. It was such a relief when he put our minds at rest and we found out he was still safe."

Mr Farbrace has coached the England ladies side and numerous domestic underage outfits.

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