Home / Sports/ Hathurusingha on the brink; Steve Rixon takes over part time

Hathurusingha on the brink; Steve Rixon takes over part time

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 15 March 2019 00:00


In this file photo taken on 26 November 2018, Sri Lanka’s cricket coach Chandika Hathurusingha and batting coach Thilan Samaraweera (R) - AFP) 

By Madushka Balasuriya

Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Ashley De Silva has headed to South Africa for crisis talks with Chandika Hathurusingha, with the under-fire national coach set to return to Sri Lanka following the ongoing ODI series. In his stead, fielding coach Steve Rixon will temporarily take over as head coach for the upcoming three-match T20I series.

An SLC release confirmed that Hathurusingha will return to Sri Lanka to “discuss the Sri Lanka team’s preparation for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup.”

While the move is a likely precursor to the Boardremoving Hathurusingha from the post permanently, it is understood that his contract, which runs until 2020, complicates matters, with a substantial sum allocated as compensation in the event of it being prematurely terminated. As such, de Silva and the board are expected to broach the possibility of Hathurusingha working for SLC in a limited capacity back in Sri Lanka in the short term.

“[The Board is] trying to give Hathuru a break to see how Rixon fares in the team,” an SLC official told DailyFT.

Since taking over at the start of 2018, Hathurusingha has overseen a fairly dismal string of results, winning just 16 of 49 international matches in charge. Though his predecessors had fared little better; Sri Lanka’s win rate in 2018 was only marginally better than it had been in 2017.

While the historic Test series win over South Africa did buy him a short reprieve, the ensuing succession of ODI defeats, in what is Sri Lanka’s final series before the World Cup, has seen apprehension grow over his long-term role.

The Board’s concerns however are thought to be only partially performance-related. According to the SLC source, Hathurusingha is said to have uneasy relations with some players and staff, while it was a prolonged spat with the new Selection Committee that culminated in him being removed from the role of selector-on-tour last month. 

Ahead of the South Africa tour Hathurusingha had voiced concerns over the wholesale changes being made to the limited overs squad just months out of a World Cup, one of which was the axing of Dinesh Chandimal - someone he had earmarked as central to his limited overs squad. Hathurusingha is also said to have been unhappy at Lasith Malinga’s installation as ODI captain, a player who had until then only been at the periphery of his plans.

“The Board is not happy, not only with his performance, but his attitude as well. This has been coming for a while to be honest,” added the SLC official.

These off-field issues are understood to have created an unhappy and unhealthy dressing room atmosphere during the recent ODIs.

In terms of preparation for the World Cup, this is far from ideal for Sri Lanka, with neither the selectors, the board, Hathurusingha nor the fans any closer to identifying a final squad. As a final throw of the dice SLC are expected to hold a provincial tournament next month, consisting of four teams comprising all the players vying for a World Cup spot.

“We want every player to play in each game to ensure they are fit enough to go for the World Cup. The teams will be captained by Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo [Mathews], Upul Tharanga, and maybe [Lasith] Malinga or [Dinesh] Chandimal. They will have to prove themselves to be in contention for the World Cup,” the source confirmed.


SLC announces T20 squad for SA series

Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

Revitalising the tourist inflows

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Easter Sunday 21 April terror acts have dealt a very heavy blow on tourism. The inflow has dried up for the moment while it can be presumed that forward selling too may have become sluggish. It is noted that Government has introduced a series of meas

Truth has now arrived, and falsehood has perished

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

“And say: Truth has now arrived, and Falsehood has perished: for Falsehood by its very own nature is bound to perish.” Holy Quran: Chapter 17 Verse 81. Every discussion, debate and discourse that we see and hear over the audio – visual and prin

Afghan refugees face Jaffna’s hostility: These Sri Lankans are crazy

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Abbas Ahmadi, an IT specialist, was rather high in the Afghan provincial civil service. He is of Hazara ethnicity and persecuted by the majority Pashtuns who ironically dominate the ruling faction as well as the rebelling Taliban.The Hazaras are inpa

One month gone: No charge on over 200 Catholics murdered

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

It’s been one month since the murder of around 300 innocent Catholic children and parents but no has yet been charged for the biggest negligence of duty that Sri Lanka has seen in recent history. The President and Prime Minister have both denied a

Columnists More