Chandika Hathurusingha, a former Sri Lanka allrounder, has announced his retirement from first-class cricket. Hathurusingha, now 37, has finished his 18-year career to focus on coaching and has been appointed national coach of the United Arab Emirates for a one-year term starting later this month.
"I have decided to retire before this year's first-class season so that I can take up a very exciting coaching position with the United Arab Emirates," said Hathurusingha. "I am really looking forward to the challenge of coaching an emerging cricket nation with huge potential. I hang up my playing boots, though, with a great deal of sadness. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a professional cricketer and it was a great honour and privilege to represent my country during the 1990's. I have made many friends over the years on the cricket field and it will be difficult to say goodbye.
"I would like to thank all those that have helped me over the years, especially my wife Shivaka, brother Chaminda, my late father and mother Cicilin, who all provided so much assistance, support and encouragement during my career. I would also like to thank the many friends and team-mates that have provided so much enjoyment over the years. A special note of appreciation too for those cricket clubs that I have represented, chiefly Moors Sports Club and Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club, but also the clubs overseas in England and Australia. I would also like to thank Sampath Bank, my former employer.
"As a professional cricketer I would have loved to have played longer for Sri Lanka. It was, obviously, a disappointment to be left out after the 1999 World Cup at a time when I believe I still had much to offer the country. But I retire without bitterness and I am now looking toward the future. Cricket coaching has always been a passion and it also provides me with an opportunity of putting something back into the game I love. This will be my second career in cricket and my ambition is to become one of the leading coaches in the world. I hope that sometime in the future I will be an asset to Sri Lanka once again."
Hathurusingha played 26 Tests as a medium pace allrounder, often opening the batting. He scored 1274 runs at 29.62, scoring eight fifties, as well as taking 17 wickets 46.41. He played 35 ODIs, scoring 709 runs at 20.90 and taking 14 wickets for 50.64. His international career ended after the 1999 World Cup in England. Despite international opportunities drying up after 1999, Hathurusingha continued to excel in Sri Lanka domestic cricket, finishing his career after 207 matches with 10,861 runs at 36.44 and taking 425 wickets. In recent years he brought success to Moors Sports Club and later Tamil Union with the combined responsibilities of captain and coach.
Hathurusingha now wants to concentrate all his energy and attention to becoming one of Sri Lanka's leading cricket coaches. He is already recognised as one of the most highly qualified coaches in the island having attained ECB Level 3 coaching status, one of the most advanced coaching qualifications in the world, as well as a Level II qualification with Cricket Australia.