In one of the most logical move in recent times, the Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) has sacked U19 team head coach Hashan Tillakaratne following a disastrous World Cup Campaign in South Africa, Cricket Age Exclusively learns.
Sri Lanka’s Under-19 cricketers entered the World Cup brimming with confidence on the back of a Tri-Series win in the Caribbean, but the outcome turned upside-down hitting an all-time low show in the global showpiece.
After being embarrassingly knocked out from the first round of the main competition following the defeats against India and New Zealand, the team managed to beat Nigeria in the plate quarter final and Scotland in the semi final. However, against a far superior England, the team surrendered meekly, as Hashan Tillakaratne’s World Cup campaign ended in a hopeless manner, as it was widely anticipated. It was the worst possible outcome for Sri Lanka U19, as team finished at 10th place.
“Yes, we have removed Hashan following an indifferent world cup. However, he will be remained in the coaching setup, as we are going to put him somewhere at batting consultant capacity” a top SLC administrator told Cricket Age.
Moreover, following Hashan’s departure, the Sri Lanka U19 team is likely to get a foreign coach.
“Most probably, a foreign coach will be appointed for the U19 team as well. We are looking for best suitable candidate who can move forward U19 team in the right direction” the top SLC administrator added further.
Hashan’s departure marked the end of a highly unsuccessful two years tenure. Even after all the self created hype and many branding attempts in the last two years, Hashan could not win anything for the U19 team, except for the tri-series win in West Indies recently.
Moreover, his several strategic decisions during the world cup went horribly wrong and that raised questions over his ability as a coach. Dashing top order batsman Ahan Wickramasinghe was considered to be Sri Lanka’s best bet at Under-19 level in recent times. Despite his heroics leading up to the tournament, he was left out of the playing XI for the first game against India and the chaos continued in the Lankan camp when the team management decided to send him at No.8 in the must- win game against New Zealand. This one big blunder of Hashan itself gives an indication of his decision making ability.
His sacking was obvious for another reason. Over the years, the Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) has gained the reputation for sacking coaches and support staff after World Cup debacles. In 2016, then head coach Roger Wijesuriya couldn’t save his job, even though Sri Lanka U19 team had reached in the semi final. In 2018, former Sri Lanka player Roy Dias was also removed, even after winning the plate championship. Moreover, just few months ago, SLC didn’t hesitate to sack national team head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, after an underwhelming World Cup in England!
In comparison, Hashan’s World Cup campaign turned out more embarrassing and disastrous, due to multiple reasons.
First, for it’s part, Shammi Silva led administration had provided everything to Hashan, whatever was needed for a successful World Cup campaign. First time in Sri Lanka cricket history, U19 team participated in the World Cup with a full strength coaching staff, consisting of fast bowling coach, spin bowling coach, trainer, physio, manager cum junior selector, computer analyst, senior selector, school representative. In addition, SLC also sent two more officials – Vice president (School) Oshara Panditharatne and School cricket association treasurer Nihal Fernando – on its own expenses just for providing moral support to coaching staff and team in the South Africa.
Second, the SLC had last year itself appointed a 9-members junior selection committee for the U19 team, organised plenty of overseas tours and provided best practice facilities.
Sadly, even after SLC’s all these efforts, Hashan turned out an epic disaster as a head coach, with his inability to supervise things in a global tournament!