Indiscipline will not be tolerated – Hathurusingha


Sri Lanka’s Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha has a world with top order batsman Kusal Mendis during training at R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday. The 22-year-old Mendis was axed from the squad for Sri Lanka’s tour to India, but has been recalled for the Bangladesh tour. (Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)

by Rex Clementine

In his first media interaction after assuming duties as Sri Lanka’s Head Coach, Chandika Hathurusingha reiterated that indiscipline will not be tolerated under his charge. Hathurusingha addressed a pool of 23 players shortlisted ahead of the upcoming ODI triangular series in Bangladesh in the morning before conducting a four-hour training session in the afternoon at R. Premadasa Stadium.

As Sri Lankan cricket hit new lows in 2017, there were a few reported incidents and opening batsman Danushka Gunathilaka became the most high-profile casualty as he was handed a five-match suspension that saw him miss the ODI leg of the recent UAE tour.

Hathurusingha, who was Sri Lanka ‘A’ coach for two years from 2007 to 2009, was known as a taskmaster and a similar no-nonsense approach with Bangladesh helped him to achieve unprecedented success over the last three years.

"In future it is not going to happen. If someone wants to listen to music during training, he can pack his bags and go home. I can’t talk on what happened in the past, I don’t want to assume things. But I will get a first-hand feel of what is going on. I have told them that preparation is the key. If we prepare well, we are giving ourselves a good chance to do well," Hathurusingha said in response to a question raised by a journalist.

His training session yesterday was full of intensity and he was confident about turning things around after Sri Lanka struggled to earn automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.

"Quite a few things we are not doing right at the moment and that’s why we are in this situation. But no doubt about the skill we have. There are so many cricketers that I can see that they can go on to become one of the top five players in the world. If they are not doing justice to their talent, that means a lot of things are going wrong," Hathurusingha said.

"We were really focusing on our basics. We had four stations during training today. One area we were working on was playing spin. Fast bowlers were doing spot bowling; working on their stock ball. I was working with the batsmen trying to hit boundaries and trying to find out what their strengths are, and giving them freedom to express themselves," Hathurusingha elaborated.

Prolific top-order batsman Kusal Mendis has been named in the pool of 23 and he is expected to make a comeback in Bangladesh after being axed from the squad for the tour of India.

"Mendis is an exceptional talent. The 174 he scored against Australia was a stunning knock. Then again to score that 194 against Bangladesh, he showed that he is capable of playing big knocks and batting for long hours," Hathurusingha commented.

The entire morning session, Hathurusingha spent on talking to players about their priorities and what is expected of them.

"I have spoken to them about how to get better. What we need to do to get better. I asked them whether they knew what they are doing. We need to know what we are doing to get better. I am pretty confident that we can do better. There’s lot of talent in this squad and that excites me. That is what encouraged me to take up this position. I am hundred percent sure that we can get better."

Prior to the Bangladesh tour, Sri Lanka’s players will work with a Brisbane based psychologist, Dr. Phil Johnsy, who has worked with Australian Olympics team and Cricket Australia. Before resuming training, Hathurusingha handed the players a questionnaire containing 40 questions on day-to-day life in order to get an understanding about their mindset.

"It’s not my questionnaire, but the 40 questions were prepared by the psychologist. I have worked with him for the last four years. I intend to bring him in, time to time; ideally bring him down four times a year, depending on his availability and stuff like that. The questionnaire was prepared by him to understand players and profiling of players."

"I met him for the first time in Sydney Thunder. Mike Hussey introduced me to him. He had been using him as a personal psychologist. He might be on some tours as well with us. It will help me to identify players."

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