Sri Lanka news May 12, 2014

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kamal on May 14, 2014, 6:56 GMT

    Good move if this can be done. But he should be given a fair amount of time/tours to show his colors. Two years from the end of the SA tour would be great. Which means he will be able to work with the team for one year before the 2015 world cup (with the likes of MJ, KS and TMD) and then another year after that without those seniors.

  • Rajith on May 13, 2014, 18:27 GMT

    this will be one hell of a news if Hathuru would coach SL national side. 2015 WC here we come

  • Lahiru on May 13, 2014, 11:23 GMT

    Its good to see him back.. Marvan as Assistant Coach, Kalpage as Fielding coach, Vass as Fast bowling coach, and bring Murali as Spin bowling coach...

  • Anver on May 13, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    Very nice to read comments about HATHURU after some time. What a fighter he was as a player... SL's loss & NSW's gain !!!!

  • Dummy4 on May 13, 2014, 7:53 GMT

    I sincerely hope that, for Hathuru's sanity, he remains in Australia and work towards himself being appointed as Head Coach of Australia. Given the way Sri Lanka Cricket runs itself and its attitude towards its own players, he would be wasting his time here in SL. There's no doubt he's the best coach SL has produced, and he's matured considerably from the hot-headedness of his youth. In my opinion, SL-born coaches will never last in the SL system due to political interference. Foreigners do better as they'll brook no nonsense from the hierarchy.

  • sanath on May 13, 2014, 5:54 GMT

    I love see CH coach SL team in WC 2015 in australia. Now he has experience in ausi condition.

  • udendra on May 13, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    This is interesting news, and hopefully everything happens for the betterment of SL cricket.

  • Dummy4 on May 13, 2014, 1:44 GMT

    Man got 10k first class runs at 36 avg and 425 wickets at 22.07 a piece. He SHOULD know cricket better than some of the coaches held the position before him. Anyway if he had disciplinary issues, he is good as nothing.

  • Dummy4 on May 12, 2014, 21:01 GMT

    Sanjeeva u are spot on. I don't like any locals and Atapattu in particular , but Haturu is the exception. Also Atap I know will not get on with H.

    Ranjan Rodrigo Sydney