“Hathurusingha was hurt by things said about him by a couple of cricketers. I wasn’t in South Africa but if he felt that they are not listening to him, why would he run the team? He didn’t mention the media in the past but he used to say why do the players say such things in the media? I sat with him and the players a number of times, asking them why they lie in the media”
These are the words of Bangladesh Cricket Board President, Nazmul Hassan, a day after rumours of Hathurusingha’s resignation spread like wildfire. While confirming that the Bangladesh coach had indeed submitted his resignation, Hassan expressed his anger at players who had such easy access to media and could blurt out anything and everything in front of them, something which the Sri Lankan born Hathurusingha couldn’t quite digest.
That might have eventually led to his decision to resign with two years left on his contract. Or it could be the lure of going back to Lanka and being paid virtually the very same amount (Reports suggest that he would be Lanka’s highest-paid coach if that happens) while getting the luxury of being at home.
Whatever that is, Bangladesh and Hathurusingha look set to part ways.
Confirming the development BCB President Nazmul Hasan had said, “As far as I remember, he submitted a letter to me in early October. He didn’t give any specific reasons. He only said he wasn’t interested anymore. He mentioned that he is not interested to work. He received the offer from Sri Lanka one year ago and Sri Lanka’s Honorable president also asked him to consider, he had from other places as well and he had shown me quite a few of those offers. It is difficult to say without talking with him why he wants to leave or whether it is a better offer, family issues or something else.”
For three years, the shrewd head coach had overseen and nurtured Bangladesh so well that they are more than a formidable unit in World cricket now. If not for the over-indulgence of media, the Lankan would have continued to build on the platform that he had laid in Bangladesh cricket.
Hathurusingha, on the eve of the first Test against Australia in August had tweeted “Rock n hard place!! Give in to emotion of a nation or go with b combo…! #sleeplessnights” – at around 4am.
Rock n hard place!! Give in to emotion of a nation or go with b combo…! #sleeplessnights
— Chandika Hathu (@CHathurusinghe) August 25, 2017
The tweet created a lot of ruckuses as it was evident that the coach was going through tons of unwanted crap from media and ensuring a lot of stress and pressure.
Did he deserve all this? Wasn’t he the saviour of Bangladesh cricket, arriving at a time the sub-continental side were nothing more than minnows and transforming them into fierce competitors in World cricket, at least in One Day Internationals?
A clearer picture of Hathurusingha’s success can be produced by analysing a few stats.
Prior to his appointment as head coach, Bangladesh had played 283 ODIs, winning a mere 80 games with a win/loss ratio of 0.4. Cut out the minnows from these games and narrow it down to performances against the top eight nations alone and you have 27 wins in 191 games, a win/loss ratio of 0.16.
But since the appointment of Hathurusingha, Bangladesh have won 25 of the 52 ODIs they played and lost just 23, a win/loss ratio 1.086, something unprecedented in Bangladesh cricket before. Under him, the Tigers soared to the quarter-finals of the 2015 World Cup, reached the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy in 2017 and won ODI series’ against India, Pakistan and South Africa at home.
They now stand at no.7 in the ODI rankings chart, above Sri Lanka and West Indies.
In Tests, they beat England, Australia and Sri Lanka and reasserted their authority at home in the past couple of years. In 83 Tests prior to Hathurusingha’s appointment, Bangladesh had won just 4, a win/loss ratio of 0.058 whereas since May 2014, they have won 6 and drawn 4 in 21 Tests, a win/loss ratio of 0.545.
|FORMAT||Before Hathurusingha||During Hathurusingha tenure|
|TESTS||Mat- 83, Win- 4, Lost- 68 , Draw- 11, W/L – 0.058||Mat- 21, Win- 6, Lost- 11, Draw- 4 W/L-0.545|
|ODIs||Mat- 283, Win- 80, Lost- 200, W/L – 0.4||Mat- 52, Win- 25, Lost- 23, W/L-1.086|
Individually as well, several players have benefitted hugely during his tenure. The likes of Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah enjoyed immense success under Hathurusingha.
The rise of young talents like Soumya Sarkar, Mustafizur Rehman, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Subashis Roy and Liton Das also confirm how Hathurusingha was adept at identifying young talent and giving them the adequate opportunity for growth.
Rahim, for instance, had 2511 Test runs in 43 matches at an average of 33.48 before April 2014. However, in the Chandika-reign, the wicket-keeper batsman has emerged as a solid Test batsman, averaging 40.69 in 20 Tests with three hundreds. Even in ODIs, he showed remarkable progress, averaging 44.90 in 50 ODIs with three hundreds including one in South Africa where no Bangladesh batsman had scored a ton before.
|MUSHFIQUR RAHIM||Before Hathurusingha||During Hathurusingha tenure|
|TESTS||Mat – 43, Runs – 2511, Avg – 33.48, 100s – 3||Mat – 20, Runs – 1343, Avg – 40.69, 100s – 3|
|ODIs||Mat – 129, Runs – 2780, Avg – 28.08, 100s – 2||Mat – 50, Runs- 1796, AVg – 44.90, 100s – 3|
None of this would have materialised if Sri Lanka hadn’t made the colossal blunder of sacking Trevor Bayliss’ understudy, Chandika Hathurusingha in 2010. The Sri Lanka A coach was promoted to the senior team at the request of Kumar Sangakkara in 2009 . The Sri Lankan team was in Zimbabwe playing a tri-series and Hathurusinghe returned home before the final to travel to Australia to follow a Level III coaching course. He had obtained permission from both the Head Coach and Team Manager but failed to inform the Board President which resulted in his suspension.
Bangladesh were the clear beneficiaries. Now, seven years hence, Sri Lanka, if the grapevine is to be believed, are set to get hold of Hathurusingha, this time as head coach. If anything, he should act as a catalyst to Sri Lanka’s hope of lifting themselves up from the ashes. After all, that is where his heart rests despite all the indifference. “I will absolutely come [if SLC asks me to],” he had said a year back. “I am in this position today because of all the things I learned playing cricket in Sri Lanka. After I learned everything in Sri Lanka for about 20 years, I went to Australia and learned things there as well. But if Sri Lanka invites me at any time, I will happily come back to do something for the country.”
If you haven’t heard of media taunts, tune in to this story and you are certain to witness the ignorance and profanity of a section of Bangladeshi media. Ultimately, the loss is for the country which had hugely benefited from Hathurusingha’s services. So long adieu coach! You did your job!