Sri Lanka Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha Vows to stay on despite World Cup Exit

Written by N Krishnamurthy

Sri Lanka cricket coach Chandika Hathurusingha says he wants to stay on despite pressure to quit after the team’s poor performance in the World Cup.

Hathurusingha insisted Monday he would remain Sri Lanka’s cricket coach despite pressure to step down after their World Cup exit, but official sources said a shake-up was planned.

Sri Lanka started the tournament as outsiders and finished sixth of the nine teams, registering one of their three wins against the world’s top-ranked one-day international side, hosts England.

Local media reported Monday that Sri Lanka sports minister Harin Fernando was unhappy with Hathurusingha’s performance and that he would be asked to step down.

But Hathurusingha told reporters on landing back in Colombo that though he had expected better from the team, he would still see out his contract as coach.

“I have another 16 months,” Hathurusingha said. “I hope to remain until my contract runs out.”

Asked if accepted responsibility for Sri Lanka failing to qualify for the semi-finals, Hathurusingha said the entire team management should share the blame.

“All of us must accept responsibility for what happened. I think we expected better performance… We have to think. We must learn from this and move forward. I think I have done to the best of my ability.”

A top cricket official said the board expected to carry out a major overhaul of the coaching department within three months.

“We are looking at a three-month period to complete the changes,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

Sri Lanka lost four and won three matches at the World Cup, with two abandoned due to rain.

“If the head coach refuses to step down, we can’t force him out, but we can appoint another above him,” Fernando was quoted as saying in the mass-circulation Lankadeepa daily.

It has noteworthy that Hathurusingha’s main focus is only on 6 million salary, until his contract ends.

On January 16, Cricket Age had exposed how Hathurasingha charged a whopping 60,000 USD from the SLC for just an assessment report of the national team. More shockingly, as per his contract, Hathurusingha is entitled to get 1,20,000 USD in a year for submitting two reports!

After that expose by Cricket Age, entire local media, fans, supporters came to know how Hathurasingha has been looting Sri Lanka Cricket!

However, forget about money, the bigger issue is that whether Sri Lanka is getting benefited under Hathurusingha or not?

Cricket Age has the access of Hathurusingha’s contract. And it shows that Hathurusingha has completely failed in his ‘Job Function’ As a national Coach of Sri Lanka!

Planning and strategizing for the national team : One of most important job function of Hathurasingha is to plan and strategies for the team. This is the area, where Hathurusingha has failed miserably. In last one year, Sri Lanka, in all three formats, could never played with a strategy or planning.

Hathurusingha’s another job function says he is responsible for drawing game plans during matches. These days, Sri Lanka hardly has any game plan against any opposition!

Preparing the Sri Lanka squad for tours, both physically and mentally : This is another area, where millions dollars paid coach failed miserably! It has become a pattern Now, in ever series, tournament, three to four Sri Lanka players get injured – before the series or during the series. There is no mental toughness in the players as well. Most of the batsmen were unable to handle the match situation and threw their wickets away by playing false strokes!

Guiding team spirit among the players and motivating them to be result oriented : The lesser we talk about this is better! This is the area where team is lacking the most. As allrounder Thisara Perera’s leaked letter has already exposed the dirty politics within the team to the world cricket, there is no team spirit in the dressing room right now. All the players are playing for themselves and there is no unity or willingness to win for the country, as per Perera’s letter itself.

That’s why, the departure of Hathurasingha seems most logical thing for Sri Lanka Cricket. For his own goodwill, credibility and future, Hathurusingha need to realize that the time has arrived for him to resign gracefully!

About the author

N Krishnamurthy