Speculation regarding Chandika Hathurusingha’s return to Bangladesh had been going on for more than a week and the fire was fuelled further yesterday when the Sri Lankan left his role as assistant coach for New South Wales. Putting an end to all the speculation, the BCB confirmed in a media release yesterday that Hathurusingha had reached a two-year deal and would begin his second tenure with the Tigers from February.
BCB president Nazmul Hassan Papon said at a press conference in Dhaka that there would be no split-coaching duties and that Hathurusingha was arriving as head coach in all three formats on February 20th.
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Hathurusingha left the Bangladesh job under bitter circumstances in 2017 following the series in South Africa, with two years of his contract unfulfilled and the relationship with a few players having soured.
Taking over the national team in what will be his second stint raises questions of how fruitful the latest journey will be, especially as many of the national team stars from his era have retired from one format or the other. The BCB president said that a few key stars had previously spoken positively about the Sri Lankan’s return.
“We had been talking to Hathurusingha and when we went to Australia for the World Cup last year, that was when we finalised it,” the BCB president said. He added that they were looking for an assistant coach for Hathurusingha. Sridharan Sriram still remains in the equation but the BCB president informed that they “haven’t taken a final decision on him yet”.
Sriram was in charge of the Tigers despite being termed a technical consultant during the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup while Russell Domingo was sidelined from the T20 unit before parting ways with the BCB in December last year.
“We are still talking to two others but it’s not like they will be coming in similar roles. We are still talking and perhaps we will be able to confirm on the 24th or 25th about the second appointment and who might arrive. We are basically looking for someone who can be fulfil the post of an assistant coach. Given the frequency of tours, it’s not possible for one coach to oversee everything. But the head coach role is final and he will arrive on the 20th,” Papon informed. It was learned that the BCB had not yet approached Sriram with a specific role but BCB sources informed that he is expected in Dhaka.
The biggest reason for Hathurusingha’s appointment was his commitment to a single job, according to Papon.
“Our past experience with him [is a big reason]. The biggest thing is that whenever we are looking at a high-level coach or even if we go mid-level, they won’t be able to stay for many days. They count the number of days and want to work for something like 100 or 200 days and many of them have franchise duties and will seek holidays. Hathurusingha doesn’t have issues like that and works on a single responsibility wherever he is. That is a big advantage. According to the agreement, he will have holidays. But apart from that, there are no other commitments,” he informed.
Hathurusingha was known as a strict character during his previous stint. Whether that quality was also important and how much responsibility he relinquishes to others will be seen in the future. What also remains to be seen is whether his charm will have the same effect and take the Tigers to new heights like his previous term.