Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha, who is reported to have handed his resignation to Bangladesh Cricket Board earlier today, is likely to take up the role of the head coach for Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Cricket’s top brass have been in negotiations with Hathurusingha since Graham Ford stepped down as the Head Coach in June. Although Hathurusingha had been not too keen on the offer, in recent weeks SLC is believed to have requested former captain Kumar Sangakkara to convince Hathurusingha to join Sri Lanka.
Two weeks ago, SLC CEO Ashley de Silva sent e-mails to Jason Gillespie and Geoff Marsh, who were shortlisted to take up the Sri Lankan coaching position, thanking them for showing interest in the job and indicating that they had settled in for a coach. SLC officials, however, were tightlipped about their negotiations with Hathurusingha.
Hathurusingha is also believed to have been not too happy with some former Bangladesh players who are holding key positions at BCB. Hathurusingha will undoubtedly ask SLC for a free hand and say in choosing the personnel he requires to build the Sri Lankan team. Several Sri Lankan coaches in recent times like Trevor Bayliss, Geoff Marsh and Graham Ford have indicated about interferences in the affairs of the team from board officials and politicians.
SLC officials had earlier said that they will announce a new coach by mid December and that he would take over by early January. But the latest developments could see Hathurusingha taking up the job much earlier. However, he is contracted with BCB until the 2019 World Cup. The Sri Lankan cricket team is currently in India with interim coach Nic Pothas.
If he takes up the job, Hathurusingha could become the highest earning Sri Lankan coach ever. The pay package in fact could be more than that of the annual earnings of a top Sri Lankan player from SLC.
Hathurusingha and Sangakkara have a close relationship and it was the latter, who requested the board in 2009 to free the coach from his ‘A’ team duties and make him the understudy for then head coach Bayliss. So impressed Sangakkara was by his knowledge and demeanour that he believed that Hathurusingha would succeed Bayliss after the 2011 World Cup.
However, a disagreement with then SLC chief and former Test cricketer D.S. de Silva saw him vacate his position and migrate to Australia in 2010. Sangakkara, still the Sri Lankan captain, at that point wrote a moving letter to SLC to not to part ways with the coach. The board, however, didn’t take any steps to retain him.
Several current cricketers like captain Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Dimuth Karunaratne and Suranga Lakmal were groomed by Hathurusingha when they were with Sri Lanka ‘A’. Since leaving SLC, Hathurusingha had had a brief stint with New South Wales before joining Bangladesh in 2013.
In Dhaka, he has been able to identify new talents and change Bangladesh’s cricket fortunes. During this period, they reached the quarterfinals of the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015 and the semifinal of the Champions Trophy earlier this year. They also beat Australia and England in a Test match at home and Sri Lanka away from home. In ODIs, during Hathurusingha’s time, Bangladesh recorded home series wins over South Africa, India and Pakistan.
Thilan Samaraweera, who was working as the batting consultant with Bangladesh, has already joined Sri Lanka.