Sports, Cricket

Hathuru's return draws mixed reactions from Mashrafe, BCB

Published : 02 Feb 2023 09:29 PM

ChandikaHathurusingha's appointment as Bangladesh coach has drawn diverse reactions in the country. The new two-year deal will be Hathurusingha's second stint in this position after he spent three years, from 2014 to 2017, before leaving abruptly for the Sri Lanka role. He has now returned as the all-format coach, according to BCB president Nazmul Hassan, which all but rules out S Sriram as the T20I coach of the team.

The BCB announced Hathurusingha as their new coach on Tuesday, four weeks after Russell Domingo resigned following suggestions from the board that they were looking for a new coach. Hathurusingha was on BCB's wishlist for a long time even after he had resigned from the post in October 2017.

This, despite his successors Steve Rhodes (2018-19) and Domingo (2019-22) having a better win percentage than Hathurusingha. Rhodes had a 51.11 win percentage in 45 matches while Domingo had 42.34 win percentage in all formats. Both had a much better record in ODIs and T20Is than Hathurusingha, who had a better Test record, having won six out of 21 matches during his reign.

Many felt that the BCB was hasty to dispose off Rhodes after the 2019 World Cup while Domingo resigned after being put in an untenable position due to the board's criticism of his coaching style. But the timing remained questionable. The criticism followed the team's 2-1 ODI home series win against India in December.

Former captain Mashrafe Mortaza said that the way Hathurusingha left the Bangladesh job in 2017 left a bad taste in the mouth.

"Considering our Test-playing nation's stature, this is certainly not a good example," Mashrafe told agencies. "Jamie Siddons was also brought back. They are two of the best coaches in terms of technical and tactical aspects that I have seen. Maybe that's why the board thought best to bring him back. There's also a coaching crisis. It is hard to find coaches since there are so many franchise tournaments. BCB took the right decision in that regard.

"There wouldn't have been a problem had he (Hathurusingha) left properly like Siddons, who wanted to stay back as Bangladesh's batting coach. Hathurusingha left in the middle of his contracted period. He didn't pick up the phone of our board president, neither did he reply to his SMS. He left suddenly. There's always the question of respect."

Jalal Yunus, the BCB's cricket operations chairman, said that Hathurusingha will be familiar with Bangladesh's team culture and players, and has already committed to the board for two years.

"We are happy," Yunus told ESPNcricinfo. "He has worked here before so he won't need a lot of time to adjust here. He knows the players and the environment. He is a good coach. He has the quality that's needed for the players. He has always showed interest in Bangladesh cricket. I hope this time he will stay long and keep the contractual commitment. Judging by what he has told us, we expect him to work dedicatedly for the two years."