Bangladesh cricket owes a lot to Chandika Hathurusingha. Since his appointment as the head coach of the Tigers, Chandika, has transformed Bangladesh into a fighting unit who are hungry for success and doesn’t wish to bog down so easily. Sadly, in recent times, some critics tend to ignore Chandika’s immense contributions and try to portray him in the wrong way whenever they get an opportunity.
The going was tough for the Tigers three years ago. Poor performances on the field and controversies off the field, made the situation muggier for Bangladesh. It seemed, Bangladesh had lost their way and the possibilities of a turnaround is not around the corner too soon. Amid this tricky situation, Chandika Hathurusingha entered into the scene as the head coach of the Tigers and all of a sudden, a ray of sunshine fell on the dismal place – plagued by low self-esteem. Fresh air blew over Bangladesh cricket fraternity to clean the polluted atmosphere.
Chandika Hathurusingha, arguably Bangladesh national cricket team’s most celebrated and successful coach in the history has suddenly been projected as the number one villain of Bangladesh cricket in the recent past by the country’s media. A series of failure in New Zealand, issues regarding team selection, ignorance towards media — reportedly these are some of the reasons behind this recent decline in the relationship between this former Sri Lankan all-rounder and the Bangladesh cricket fraternity, especially one influential section of Bangladeshi media.
Well, as a professional, Hathurusingha is known as someone who demands complete freedom at the workplace along with a handsome remuneration. When it comes to cricket operations, he always wants to take the final call. The coach handpicked all his support staffs. He further wanted to stamp his authority in the team selection and that’s why former chief selector Faruk Ahmed had to put down his papers.
Since taking charge as the head coach of Bangladesh in May 2014, the 48-year old former Sri Lankan Test player has been very choosy when it has come to selecting youngsters in the national side. But being an excellent spotter talent, it is Hathurusingha, who has unearthed talents like Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Liton Kumar Das,Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman and others.
Besides, he has also produced results.
Under the guidance of Hathurusingha, Bangladesh had their best ever campaign in the last World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and following that they never looked back. At home, the Mashrafe Mortaza’s boys have become almost invincible in white-ball cricket. The Hathurusungha-Mashrafe combination has brought a Renaissance in Bangladesh cricket. Even at the longer-format, Mushfiqur Rahim’s team has shown a lot of promise. Beating England at home is the peak of it, one must feel.
Bangladesh always had potential, but it is only Hathurusingha, an excellent man manager and someone who knows how to get the best out of any cricketer, has brought the results, which Bangladesh cricket was searching for more than a decade.
Thus, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) so far had no problem catering to the increasing demands of Hathurusingha.
But now, in the ongoing tour of New Zealand, the scenario has changed.
Bangladesh were never expected to win a lot of games on this difficult tour. But with their potential, the Tigers were expected to put up some fight. But unfortunately, they could not do that during the ODIs and T20Is series. According to the Bangladeshi media, those failures were the results of bizarre team selection; especially backing out of form cricketer like Soumya Sarkar.
But from Hathurusingha’s point of view, supporting someone like Soumya during a tough period is the right way forward. The youngster who had won matches on his own in the past, is the future of Bangladesh cricket and as a coach, Hathurusingha has just invested in his talent.
However, after the defeat in Wellington Test, despite scoring 595/8 dec. in the first innings the cold war situation between him and media has worsened. There has been a lot of criticisms from the media for not including pacer Rubel Hossain in the playing eleven and the coach reacted aggressively in public as well, defending his point of view.
Now the question arises, can Bangladesh cricket bear with their Sri Lankan coach anymore?
Well, they should, for the larger interest of Bangladesh cricket.
The ‘Men in Green’ is going through a very delicate phase at this point of time. Especially in this year after coming back from New Zealand, they have Test tours scheduled in India, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Australia. Bangladesh will also host the Aussies and Pakistan at home. In September they will travel to England for the Champions Trophy. So, by far this is going to be the toughest year for this young, inexperienced but talented team. Under such circumstances, a controversy-free atmosphere in and around the team and stability in the set up are the need of the hour.
Hathurusingha deserves a lot of credit for injecting the fearless attitude and self-belief in the team to go out there and express themselves on the field. On these upcoming tours, Bangladesh need to play this exact brand of cricket to earn respect from the oppositions.
The presence of Hathurusingha in the dressing room is very much needed to prepare the most suitable game plan for the team, as he knows the strengths and weaknesses of the current lot of Bangladeshi cricketers like the palm of his hand. He seems to be the best man to manage this team right now and for the sake of Bangladesh cricket, the critics should let him continue.
There is no harm in criticism, but it should be constructive criticism. The critics should remember, they are criticising someone who has put Bangladesh cricket from rags to riches.