Exit of Hathurusingha who calls the shots? | Daily News

Exit of Hathurusingha who calls the shots?

The Cricket World Cup held every four years not only brings to an end the careers of several cricketers, but also spells the death knell for team head coaches depending on how the respective countries have performed.

At the moment Sri Lanka, South Africa, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and England are on the lookout for a new head coach. The first five countries because their teams failed to qualify for the semi-finals, India because as one of the pre-tournament favourites they failed to enter the final and, England who won the World Cup because their head coach Trevor Bayliss is not renewing his contract at the end of the ongoing Ashes series.

Following Sri Lanka’s rather ordinary performance in the World Cup where they won only three of the seven matches played the country’s Sports Minister Harin Fernando wanted the entire support staff revamped which included the head coach Chandika Hathurusingha at the end of the three-match ODI series against Bangladesh. Because of the limited time on their hands to head hunt for another suitable head coach Sri Lanka Cricket got permission from the Sports Minister to retain the same support staff till the end of the upcoming series against New Zealand. But due to indifference between the head coach and SLC to come to an amicable settlement, Hathurusingha has been replaced by SLC’s Chief Operating Officer Jerome Jayaratne for the New Zealand series.

But the key question here is why is the Sports Minister getting involved in the affairs of the SLC? Isn’t there an elected body in place to look into the running of SLC? It is on the Sports Minister’s directive that SLC finds itself in a rather embarrassing position having to sack the head coach and his support staff and being exposed to what could be a huge financial burden for them. The decision whether to exit Hathurusingha and his support staff should have been left to the SLC who have hired them, rather than the Minister telling them what to do. The Minister has been holding media conferences and speaking about the candidates from whom the next coach will be selected so on and so forth.

Instead of allowing the elected officials to run SLC independently it seems the Minister is the one who is calling the shots. Isn’t this blatant violation and direct government interference? One wonders what the ICC has to say about all this.

It is reported that the Minister met ICC president Shashank Manohar and apprised him of the current situation in Sri Lanka and had invited him to visit the country this month. It would be interesting to know what Manohar’s view on Sri Lanka cricket will be.

Bangladesh sacked their English coach Steve Rhodes when they finished eighth out of ten teams in the World Cup – a performance that belied their talent and experience. It is learnt that Bangladesh are keen to have Hathurusingha back as their head coach once SLC releases him. It was under Hathurusingha’s guidance that Bangladesh reached great heights in their cricket history qualifying for the 2015 World Cup quarterfinals for the first time and rising in the ODI rankings above Sri Lanka. The Bangladesh Cricket Board rather reluctantly released Hathurusingha from his contract with them largely because of the pressure brought on them by SLC. However the move as everyone knows proved a disaster and what Hathurusingha came to realise was that there was a major difference between handling an experienced set of cricketers and an inexperienced lot.

South Africa another team that was expected to go very far in the World Cup has also sacked their head coach Ottis Gibson and like Sri Lanka are overhauling their management team. South Africa had a disappointing World Cup winning only three of their nine matches and were never in the hunt for the semi-finals.

“Members of (the current) team management, including the various assistant cricket coaches, will not be retained as part of the forthcoming plan,” Cricket South Africa (CSA) said in a media release last Sunday.

Pakistan are also unhappy with their present coach Mickey Arthur and will review his role as head coach as well as other support staff members when their contract expires in August 15.

It is reported that Arthur, who made a presentation to the Pakistan Cricket Board Committee on the team performances and selection decisions, is said to have left the members unimpressed with his arguments and explanations.

Indifference with the Afghanistan Cricket Board has led their West Indies coach Phil Simmons to quit after the Cricket World Cup. Simmons was not happy the way the Afghan Cricket Board changed their most successful captain Asghar Afghan shortly before the World Cup that led them to a disastrous campaign losing all nine matches.

Whereas in all other countries it is their Cricket Board that makes decisions is Sri Lanka an exception?


 

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