Chandika Hathurusingha's return as Bangladesh's head coach is closer to becoming reality after Nazmul Hassan, the Bangladesh Cricket Board president, said he could become a candidate for the job after the Sri Lanka-Bangladesh ODI series. Khaled Mahmud will be the coach of the team in an interim capacity for the Sri Lanka series, after Bangladesh parted ways with Steve Rhodes at the end of their World Cup campaign.
Hathurusingha had been Bangladesh coach between 2014 and 2017, and the only thing that seemingly stands in the way of his return to that position is the manner of his exit from the Sri Lanka set-up, which remains unclear. Hassan, one of Hathurusingha's biggest supporters during his Bangladesh stint, said the BCB is unable to talk to Hathurusingha and some of their other candidates right now, as they are involved in their current jobs. The BCB president also said the board would prefer a coach with previous experience of working with a subcontinent team.
"We have started the process to find a head coach, a fast-bowling coach and a physio," Hassan said. "Since the ODI series is about to begin, we are not allowed to talk to Hathurusingha. He will become a candidate when there's a break after this series, if he expresses his wish to come. We want a coach as soon as possible. We are in talks but some of the coaches are still involved in their present jobs.
"My first preference is that the coach must have national team coaching experience. We are also looking for someone who has previous experience with subcontinent teams. We are looking for coaches outside those who applied [for the coaching position] too. Top coaches have to be contacted through agents, so we are pretty much using all our avenues."
Hathurusingha still has around 16 months to go in his contract with Sri Lanka Cricket, the early termination of which is understood to come with a hefty severance package. Last week matters came closer to a resolution, when Sri Lanka's Sports Ministry handed SLC a written directive demanding the resignation of the national team's coaching staff.
SLC CEO Ashley De Silva was tightlipped on the matter, simply stating that the board would have to comply with any directive by the sports ministry, as per Sri Lanka's sports law.
"We have to abide by the sports law, and when the sports minister gives a directive we're compelled to abide by those directives," De Silva told ESPNcricinfo. "So this is something we're looking at, we've had discussions about it internally, and our executive committee will need to have a discussion with the minister about how to proceed and take it forward from there.
"We know there will be a lot of speculation until then, but since it's a very sensitive area we don't want to make a statement until a final decision has been made. We don't know if Hathurusingha is okay with resigning, we'll only know after we speak to him. He's aware of the current situation, but we haven't had a discussion with him as yet, so we just have to wait and see."
When questioned on the matter earlier this week, Hathurusingha kept his cards close to his chest. "As far as I am concerned, I haven't heard from anybody relevant to me that there's going to be a change in the coaching staff," he stated on Monday. "I have to just wait for what they're going to tell me and then I will make my decision."
Hathurusingha remains a favourite for the BCB president Hassan, though, who said that he likes coaches who have a win-at-all-cost attitude. "Everyone has a different coaching technique, style and thinking. We also have a thinking. I don't want to say much but some coaches feel that there's no point being serious about a game. But we also had coaches who wanted to win at any cost," said Hassan, who also came down heavily on Rhodes' tenure.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84