10 November 2017

Hathurusingha resigns as Bangladesh coach

Chandika Hathurusingha, the former Sri Lanka cricketer and presently coach of Bangladesh is tipped to take over a head coach of Sri Lanka after he tendered his resignation to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) yesterday.

Whether that resignation will be accepted by the BCB, and if it will actually result in Hathurusingha’s exit remains to be seen. Hathurusingha and top officials at the BCB have not officially confirmed these developments, but are not denying them.

Meanwhile, there are strong signals from Sri Lanka Cricket that they are pursuing Hathurusingha, and are in fact presently in negotiations with him.

There have been increasing recent signs that despite Bangladesh’s many improvements during his tenure, Hathurusingha is unsatisfied with the state of his present role. He had once already moved to resign in October last year, but the BCB had not accepted his resignation and Hathurusingha was convinced to continue.

Now, however there is the additional lure of a job in his home country. SLC has been on the hunt for a new head coach since Graham Ford resigned in June, and had, in fact, already approached Hathurusingha over the past three months.

Though Hathurusingha had eventually rebuffed SLC on that first occasion, recent developments may have made the Sri Lanka role more attractive to Hathurusingha.

SLC has just hired Hathurusingha’s longtime friend and associate Thilan Samaraweera as batting coach which is seen as a precursor to Hathurusingha moving to Sri Lanka. Then there has also been a change in the selection committee as well with former Sri Lanka fast bowler Graeme Labrooy taking over with a new look committee.

It is learnt that SLC is prepared to pay Hathurusingha what he presently earns with the BCB - a substantial commitment to SLC.

Hathurusingha, a former Sri Lanka cricketer was one time shadow coach of the national team and was being groomed to take over from Trevor Bayliss as head coach, but the interim administration at that time under DS de Silva terminated his services on disciplinary grounds that saw him take up a post as assistant coach of New South Wales from where he moved to become coach of Bangladesh.

Hathurusingha also has contractual obligations to fulfill having been given an extension in the middle of last year, he has signed with the BCB until the end of the 2019 World Cup. Leaving his contract is likely to be a complicated proposition, possibly involving SLC having to pay quite a substantial amount to the BCB to have him released.

If Hathurusingha does end up leaving his position, however, it will bring to an end a tenure that lasted over three years and oversaw substantial gains by the Bangladesh side, particularly in ODI cricket.

In major tournaments, Bangladesh made the quarter-final of the 2015 World Cup and the semi-final of the 2017 Champions Trophy. They had also defeated India, Pakistan and South Africa in home bilateral series, and have climbed up the ODI rankings as a result.

In Tests, Bangladesh registered their first-ever wins against England and Australia at home, and against Sri Lanka away. The team has, however, recently returned from a dispiriting tour to South Africa.