Hathu considering Sri Lankan offer seriously


Chandika Hathurusingha

by Rex Clementine

Having tendered his resignation as the Head Coach of Bangladesh, former opener Chandika Hathurusingha is said to be chatting to his confidants both in Australia and Sri Lanka about taking over the Sri Lankan job. Hathurusingha lives in Sydney having migrated to Australia after a bitter row with the D.S. de Silva – Nishantha Ranatunga administration that sacked him seven years ago. Hathurusingha in 2010 was making steady progress as understudy to Trevor Bayliss and was tipped to take over as Head Coach after the 2011 World Cup. Pleas by then captain Kumar Sangakkara and former Board Secretary S. Skandakumar, the mentor of Hathurusingha, to not to part ways with the coach fell in deaf ears.

Given Sri Lanka Cricket’s horrendous reputation in handling coaches, he would not want to be subjected to further harassments.

The 49-year-old is also believed to be under tremendous pressure from the Bangladesh Cricket Board, who want him to see through to his contract which expires in July 2019.

He might as well bite the bullet and go on till the 2019 World Cup with Bangladesh. Who knows, he might even get offers from Cricket Australia or English and Wales Cricket Board when the tenures of Darren Lehman and Trevor Bayliss ends. SLC offers peanuts compared to the pay package of ECB. The negotiations with ECB will start with something like half a million pounds a year.

Following the Sri Lankan cricket team’s horrendous run in 2017, SLC is under tremendous pressure to bring Hathurusingha down. We may be not wrong to suggest that the survival of Thialnga Sumathipala as President of the board depends on whether he is able to bring Hathurusingha down or not.

SLC at present may promise to give Hathurusingha the sun and the moon, but he is smart enough to know that the people at Maitland Place aren’t the ones who understand what a firm handshake means.

We Sri Lankans are notorious for going back on our words despite what is in black and white.

The Sumathipala administration has interfered with the affairs of the national team like never before and Hathurusingha may soon find out that everything is not hunky-dory.

There maybe lots of assurances to give him a free hand, but six months into the job, it could be a different kettle of fish.

Despite the odds, why he will be tempted to sign a Memorandum of Understanding before signing a contract is that there’s obvious job satisfaction as his heart is in Sri Lanka. Being very close to his mum, Hathurusingha would love to spend time at home rather than being away.

Furthermore, his reputation is such that SLC bigwigs will think twice before interfering with his work.

Hathurusingha has achieved so much with Bangladesh. He has taken them to the quarter-finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup and semi-finals of the Champions Trophy. He has won Test matches against Australia, England and Sri Lanka. In ODIs, meanwhile, he has won series against India, Pakistan and South Africa. There’s very little that he could further achieve with Bangladesh.

As for Sri Lanka, having hit new lows, the only way forward for the team is to make further strides and improve and there are some excellent talents that are coming through.

Hathurusingha could be back to take over later this year and in fact his first series with Sri Lanka could be against Bangladesh.

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