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Coach Hathurusingha takes the reins of Sri Lanka with 'greater autonomy'

The Sri Lanka Cricket has a patchy track record of exerting undue influence on coaches in recent years.

Edited by: India TV Sports Desk, New Delhi [ Published on: December 21, 2017 20:19 IST ]
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES A file photograph of Chandika Hathurusingha

The Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) on Thursday named Chandika Hathurusingha the team's head coach, promising the former cricketer will be given more say in the team management system.

During his two and a half years stint with Bangladesh, Hathurusingha had wielded substantial influence in the system and has been a selector with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) as well.

Though he will not be a selector in SLC for now, he has, however, signed on for the job, as the board had assured him a greater degree of control and independence.

The SLC, however, has a patchy track record of exerting undue influence on coaches in recent years.

The board has blown through 10 head coaches since 2011.

The last head coach of the Sri Lankan team, Graham Ford had quit in June this year, largely because his freedom was constantly being encroached.

SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala suggested that there has been no board influence on coaches since early 2015 when he was elected.

On being asked about the decision to give Hathurusingha a free hand, Sumathipala said: "There's no point in hiring one of the best coaches in the world and then failing to give him the freedom to do his job. I'm not a coach and no one in the board knows more about the job of a coach than Hathurusingha. We have to give him freedom. But we also trust that he will do his job well and have an expectation that he will answer the questions that we have for him from time to time."

Hathurusingha was also picked up for this job solely due to his ability to communicate in Sinhalese, the country's national language. This will help many players who are not fluent in English. Of all the Sri Lanka's coaches since 2000, only Marvan Atapattu has spoken Sinhalese.

"Hathurusingha's approach is just right for the kind of players we have, but more than anything he is Sri Lankan and so can communicate well with the players and that is another advantage. We also found that Hathuru (Hathurusingha) is one of the top world-class coaches because he is someone who believes in the deployment of technology, and he gets on with the game with a scientific footing. He carries all the knowledge a modern-day coach should have," added Sumathipala.

Hathurusingha himself, meanwhile, said that while there was promising talent in Sri Lanka's national set-up, the team has underperformed in recent months.

"Consistent selection is needed," Hathurusingha said. "We need to figure out the right combination for the respective formats. And when we've had some time to observe the players, then we can get a more accurate idea of how to fulfill the potential of this team.

"It will take some time. The players need to get used to the way that I think and operate. If there is a way to fix everything by changing one thing, then the improvement might be quicker, but it's important to have some patience. We might win our next tour, but then again we might have more challenges in the future matches. It's imperative that we look at the bigger picture," the former Sri Lankan all-rounder added.

Hathurusingha had earlier coached Sri Lanka A and was also named as an assistant coach with the national team, but was fired in June 2010 due to disciplinary reasons. He has played 26 Tests and 35 One Day Internationals (ODIs) for the Sri Lankan team between 1991-99.

(With ANI inputs)

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