Former shadow coach Hathurusingha open to SL role
New South Wales assistant coach Chandika Hathurusingha has said he is not averse to considering a position with Sri Lanka Cricket, if the board approaches him as it seeks a new head coach. Hathurusingha had forged a reputation for clear, incisive coaching and a firm, even-handed approach, during his time as a coach in Sri Lanka, but he had his SLC contract terminated in 2010 for disciplinary reasons.
Hathurusingha has also been highly regarded in Australia since re-launching his career there, most recently winning the Sheffield Shield with New South Wales this past season. He augments his state role by heading the Big Bash League's Sydney Thunder franchise.
"I am thoroughly enjoying what I have here in Australia, but just like players want to play for their own country, coaches also would love to work with their own country," Hathurusingha said. "Working with Sri Lanka is something I would never say never to. I have played and worked with a lot of the players before, and I've kept in touch with them as well. I know what the set-up is like."
Sri Lanka have not been helmed by a local coach since Roy Dias ended his tenure in 1999, but in Hathurusingha's time as the shadow coach in the national side there had been a groundswell of support for him to become the next head coach. In the wake of that decision, then-captain Kumar Sangakkara had gone as far as effectively recommending Hathurusingha for the head coach position in an impassioned letter to SLC that implored the board to keep him on staff. Four years later, many in Sri Lanka's cricket establishment still believe he is among the finest candidates for the head coach role.
Hathurusingha had not been formally approached by SLC, but suggested he had moved past the ill-feeling generated by his dismissal.
"I don't think talking about what's happened in the past will benefit either SLC or myself. But the board knows better than anyone what I can do as a coach, because that's actually where I started," he said. "It's about starting a conversation, which is what usually happens when it comes to these kinds of things. If that happens, something might come out of it."
In his letter to the board in 2010, Sangakkara had said Hathurusingha's "technical and strategic knowledge was second to none of the foreign coaches I have worked with before" and that in the previous year, Hathurusingha had "out-worked, out-thought and out-shone the foreign coaching staff within the system".
Marvan Atapattu, who has been with the national team since 2011, appears to be the current frontrunner for the head coach job, after he was named interim coach for two major upcoming tours over the next three months. SLC is yet to announce that it will advertise the vacancy, like the board did when it was in the market for a coach last year. The board is on the look-out for a new coach following Paul Farbrace's resignation last month.
A steady opening batsman in his playing days, Hathurusingha played 26 Tests and was among Sri Lanka's most experienced domestic cricketers, in possession of 10,861 first-class runs and 425 wickets.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando