Hathurusingha wants to make Bangladesh what SL were in 1996
Coach Chandika Hathurusingha has said he would like to leave Bangladesh in the position Sri Lanka had been in 1996, and that he would happily work with Sri Lanka after his present contract ends in 2019.
The mid-1990s were effectively Sri Lanka's coming of age in international cricket. In addition to winning the 1996 World Cup, they also began to produce players who achieved world renown - such as Aravinda de Silva, Muttiah Muralitharan and Sanath Jayasuriya. Sri Lanka also soon established themselves in Test cricket, beating most oppositions who toured the island.
Bangladesh have recently made gains under Hathurusingha, winning a Test against England last year, and running impressive campaigns during 2016's Asia Cup and the 2015 World Cup. They also qualified for the 2017 Champions Trophy, having missed out in 2009 and 2013.
"In 2019, I want to bring the Bangladesh team to where Sri Lanka were in 1996," Hathurusingha told Divaina. "That's my target. Whatever happens, I'm not going to ask to stay with Bangladesh forever. I will also not resign. The only reason for leaving is if I'm not allowed to do what I want to do, but there's no such situation at present."
Hathurusingha was complimentary of his dealings with the BCB, saying he had "got everything he asked for", including a place on the selection committee and broad influence over the team's development. However, he suggested that he harboured hopes of working with Sri Lanka in future, having made himself available to them before he took the job with Bangladesh, as well.
"I will absolutely come [if SLC asks me to]," he said. "I am in this position today because of all the things I learned playing cricket in Sri Lanka. After I learned everything in Sri Lanka for about 20 years, I went to Australia and learned things there as well. But if Sri Lanka invites me at any time, I will happily come back to do something for the country."
Hathurusingha said Sri Lanka's school cricket system remained much stronger than that of Bangladesh, but was less impressed with Sri Lanka's senior cricket structure. He joined the chorus of former players lamenting the excessive number of teams in Sri Lanka's first-class cricket. Twenty-three first-class teams competed in the recently-concluded Premier League tournament, though nine of those sides played in the second tier league.
"If there are 22 or 23 first-class sides in Sri Lanka, then that's definitely not good," he said. "With the way that Sri Lanka is, I think there should be about 12 or 14 sides. But because school cricket is good here, players are still produced.
"In Bangladesh, there is a four-day tournament, a one-day tournament with about eight teams, and their BPL T20 tournament. Because of that, the good players become highlighted. In the last two years, I changed a lot of things in their club cricket, including their pitches."