‘You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes’ | Daily News


‘You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes’

As Sri Lanka’s cricket fortunes continue on a downward slide under head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, the latest setback to hit the team was the resignation of the team manager Charith Senanayake midway during the ongoing three-Test series against England.

According to reports appearing in the media Senanayake has been targeted as the scapegoat for the team’s poor performances whereas he has nothing to do with the preparation of the team which is the responsibility of the coaching staff, the trainers and physios.

It has been stated that the head coach had wanted Senanayake sacked with immediate effect while the first Test against England at Galle was going on, but for his bad luck Sri Lanka Cricket’s CEO Ashley de Silva had been out of the country and the decision could not be taken.

However as soon as the Test match ended a day before schedule on Saturday, Senanayake had fired an email to the CEO stating that if his presence was detrimental to the team’s performance he was immediately stepping down from his post as manager. Senanayake had been appointed manager from the ODI series against South Africa in July this year.

Although SLC tried to coax Senanayake to stay back until the end of the series, the former Sri Lanka Test opener would have none of it. And when SLC tried to offer him the post of manager of the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team Senanayake a no-nonsense manager flatly refused it.

What we hear from the grapevine is that the head coach was uncomfortable with Senanayake’s presence in their midst because he was able to spotlight the shortcomings of the coaching staff, so he had to go.

This is not the first time that the head coach has palmed off the blame for the team’s defeats onto someone else.

When Sri Lanka performed disastrously in the Asia Cup in UAE losing to team’s like Bangladesh and Afghanistan and were knocked out in the first round of the tournament, it was the Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews who was made the scapegoat for the country’s losses.

He was not only stripped of the one-day captaincy but also dropped from the ODI and T20I squads for the matches against England.

Mathews hit back at the selectors’ decision to remove him from the captaincy by sending a letter to SLC CEO Ashley de Silva in which he stated the following: “I write to you pursuant to the meeting held on Friday the 21st of September 2018 at SLC premises, which was attended by all the selectors along with the National Cricket Coach Mr. Chandika Hathurusingha. At this meeting the selection committee and the coach informed me to step down as Sri Lanka’s captain of the ODI and T20 team. Though I was initially surprised, it was immediately felt that I have been made the scapegoat in this entire saga of Sri Lanka’s dismal performances against Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the Asia Cup. I’m willing to take part of the blame but at the same time, feel betrayed and let down if the blame is solely put on me. As you know all decisions are taken through a mutual understanding with the Selectors and the Head Coach. And though I do not agree with the reasoning that the losses should be accrued single handed to the Captaincy, I however eagerly and wholeheartedly respect the request of the selection committee and the head coach in asking me to step down and do so with immediate effect.”

Mathews further stated that it was Hathurusingha who immediately after he was appointed as head coach had approached him and requested him to take up the Sri Lanka captaincy until the World Cup 2019.

The reasons given for Mathews’ omission from the ODI team and the captaincy was his supposed lack of fitness and his poor record in running between the wickets. Mathews and Hathurusingha had been at odds since.

However in the recently concluded first Test against England at Galle which Sri Lanka lost by 211 runs where Mathews emerged as the stand out batsman for the side with back to back fifties, Hathurusingha did a complete U turn and showered praise on Mathews’ performance placing him on the level of Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Joe Root.

“I would have thought he would have been in Virat Kohli, Joe Root and Steve Smith’s level, because he’s capable of getting to that level as a batsman. I think he has realised that and he’s worked hard in the last eight months to get himself fit. I’m hoping for big things from him,” said Hathurusingha.

Since Hathurusingha took over as head coach the only format that Sri Lanka had remained unbeaten is in Tests – they won against Bangladesh 1-0, drew the series in the Caribbean against West Indies 1-all and beat South Africa 2-0 at home.

That record now stands on the brink of being broken with Sri Lanka trailing England 0-1 in the present three-Test series with two matches to play. Who will be targeted as the next scapegoat if that loss happens?

The head coach should be reminded of the famous words of late John Wooden, American basketball player and coach of the University of California, Los Angeles: “You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes.”

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