Chandika Hathurusingha – Is He as Good as He is Cracked Up to Be as a Coach?


Chandika Hathurusingha

Chandika Hathurusingha

(I wrote this piece before Chandika Hathurusingha accepted the coaching role for the national team by Sri Lanka Cricket. I forgot to publish this for some reason but since I still think my arguments still stand, thought of publishing this as it is.)

Chandika Hathurusingha batting

Chandika Hathurusingha batting

Chandika Hathurusingha was a mediocre cricketer who had a comparatively longer stint with the Sri Lankan cricket team just because of the big dearth of professional players in his time than due to his talents. He had the luck of being the opening batsman with the better opener Roshan Mahanama simply because there wasn’t anyone else in the team who could be sacrificed to that position as Asanka Gurusinha, Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga had their duties down the order than at the top. It was the same about the position of the opening bowler regarding the player in question. Hathurusingha was the only available player to start bowling from the other end when the other mediocre opening fast bowler Pramodya Wickramasinghe started as the conventional opening bowler position due to more or less the same reasons given above about Hathurusingha. The latter opened with his medium-fast bowling and plucked a wicket or two on his day but mostly he just filled the place of an opening bowler till the ball was still new and shiny for the spinners.

Chandika Hathurusingha bawling

Chandika Hathurusingha bawling

It is not my intention to criticize Hathurusingha’s talents during his time where fame, finances and facilities were low for the players and most of them just played for the “heck of it.” It is true that Hathurusingha was an anchor during his time for the team and did his best till he was constantly defeated in the hands of legendary South African pace ace Alan Donald which paved the former the way out of the Sri Lankan team eventually. Hathurusingha had to throw the towel before he expected.

 

Chandika Hathurusingha as Bangladesh coach

Chandika Hathurusingha as Bangladesh coach

But today what we are talking is not about Hathurusingha, the cricketer but Hathurusingha, the much-hyped coach. There is no doubt he is a good coach. He has had his stints as an assistant coach to Sri Lankan cricket team and a head coach for some domestic teams in Australia. But if he thinks that he was the main reason for the then struggling Bangladesh team to mold themselves into what they are today, then he will end up with an inevitable disaster. Bangladesh was the minnows for a long time as they were christened as a Test team prematurely and the ultimate result was getting more cricket matches than they deserved and being hammered at the hands of stronger teams in all forms of the game. In the meantime, they were also lucky enough to come closer to winning in some matches of late and again mess up most of them due to lack of experiences in turning the crunch times to winning. Why I used the phrase “lucky enough” was due to luck of having the chance to come close to winning and getting the experience of “near wins” and an occasional taste of blood of winning. This is where a team starts realizing their true potential and get the confidence that they have the mettle and substance to win. When Bangladesh hired Hathurusingha, the team was more or less passing this stage and was ready to win. With or without Hathurusingha, Bangladesh had the strength to do a revolution in the game. Attributing the team’s success wholly to Hathurusingha is a big mistake done by the media and if Hathurusingha too subscribed to the same attribution, it is a grave mistake he does by risking his hitherto successful career as a coach.  No doubt he was instrumental in making Bangladesh into a fighting unit but the credit goes to the players, former coaches and the management as well. (This was more or less similar to the success one of the former Sri Lankan coaches Dav Whatmore achieved under similar conditions.)

Bangladeshi Cricket Team

Bangladeshi Cricket Team

Besides, it is immaterial even if Hathurusingha is really an excellent coach elsewhere if he takes Sri Lankan coaching job. Sri Lankan cricketing arena is a completely different ball game. It doesn’t care if you are good, great or even genius. You have to submit to the cricket mafia that runs the game over here. You won’t have the freedom or the respect you enjoyed in Bangladesh or elsewhere. You will have to forget the cricketing decisions you used to make supported by the Bangladesh Cricket Board but will have to dance to the tune of the bunch of idiots that run Sri Lanka Cricket after winning the coveted Cricket World Cup in 1996. Beside all these negative factors, you will have to face the humiliation of the local cricketers who will not respect you as a coach or as an individual. You won’t be able to see “gentlemen” in the current cricketing corridors of power.

Despite all these odds, I would wish good luck to Hathurusingha (since he is gonna need lot of that) to be a good coach and take the Sri Lankan team out of its current labyrinthine mess. You will have to do this at your own risk though.

Sri Lanka cricket team during good old days

Sri Lanka cricket team during good old days

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Cheering Visiting Cricket Teams Against Sri Lanka


A blog post written by me in 2012. Re-blogging it as it is relevant to the recent disgusting incident happened at Premadasa Stadium in the 3rd ODI between Sri Lanka and our adorable visitors, Pakistan.

Nanda Wanninayaka

Sri Lankan supporters supporting the SL team at Gabba, 2010

There are a lot of talks by various concerned people about some of the Sri Lankan Muslims supporting Pakistani cricket team and some of the Sri Lankan Tamils supporting Indian cricket team against the Sri Lankan team when India and Pakistan visit Sri Lanka. Some go to the extent calling the Tamils and Muslims ‘traitors.’ But is there anything more than this behind this phenomenon?

Muslims are more concerned with religion than race or anything else for that matter. So, naturally, they see the Muslims in Pakistani teams as “brothers” than the members of the Sri Lankan team. With the strong beliefs they have towards their religion, this is expected. Besides, only few Muslims have been able to make it to the national team of Sri Lanka. Had that happened, the things would have been different, I guess.

It is…

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We Don’t Understand This Cricket


From www.dailynews365.com

Sanath Jayasuriya – The picture from http://www.dailynews365.com

Sri Lanka cricket team doesn’t perform that well for some time now. They are not that bad as well. They became runners up in two consecutive World Cups and two Twenty20 World Cups. More than the talents of the players, there is a problem with the way the team is selected.

Many including me believed that with Sanath Jayasuriya at the helm of the Selection Committee things would go right. But it is not to be. His committee makes ridiculous decisions that none of the former committees made.

Take a look at the way the senior cricketers are being “rested.” They rested Mahela, Dilshan, Kumar, Rangana, Lasith, etc. who were performing well while almost all the newcomers failed to make an impression barring, maybe Thisara Perera at times, but not that consistently. This affected the team’s overall results during the ODI and T20 series just concluded against South Africa. There is no argument that young blood should be infused to the national team. But there is an accepted way to do that. Usually other countries provide opportunities for young players during practice matches and A team matches and through domestic tournaments. Once a cricketer is well-seasoned only he is taken to the national team, that too is when a senior player is retired, injured or omitted due to lack of performance.

Here in Sri Lanka, the best performers are rested and young players are drawn into the national team in a surprising haste damaging the very careers of those young players as they have failed in the big leagues after being drafted to national team.

Sri Lanka has this crazy idea of playing underperforming youngsters just after a series victory. Other national teams don’t do it and when they are 3-0 in the series they want to make it 5-0, not 3-2. But our decision makers have a yearning for playing youngsters and losing remaining matches. A win means a lot in international cricket. Teams are seeded due to wins and losses, not according to series victories. Other teams don’t “test” their young players at a cost of a match. They have other stages where they are tested as mentioned above. But we have an idiotic system to risk victories to make way for so called young players. This is why Sri Lanka cricket team goes deep down and suddenly reemerges again thanks to individual talents of some players, not winning as a team. A team’s composition shouldn’t be shaken much. The core of the team should be consistent and when there is a vacancy, a young man who does well can be drafted in. Young players have to sharpen themselves till they get an opportunity.

But what the Selection Committee did was to risk victories by resting senior players who did well at a time younger players were not living up to expectations. This is not fair by those senior players’ perspectives. While winning matches for the country, those players too should be allowed to go for personal milestones as well. A sudden resting while performing well can hamper all his form. Sri Lanka had to pay dearly in the T20 series with South Africa’s lead of 2-1 which could have turned the other way round if the senior players played. It was the senior players who made a difference throughout the series, not young players.

We have also a very funny way of grooming captains. Today the captains are the players who were struggling to cement their places in the team few months ago, let alone captaining it. What is the message given to them by appointing them captains while still trying to make it to the team? They take it for granted and start playing irresponsibly. See the way both Angelo and Dinesh playing. None of them is performing impressively. They should have been kept at bay till they become consistent performers before making them captains. If their cricketing lives are to end prematurely due to unexpected appointments as captains, the selection committee has to take the responsibility.

Both Kumar and Mahela cannot say that they can’t lead the national team. They are the seasoned ones and should have been captains till the end of their careers. This is how they do it in Australia and England. They find new captains only when the older captains reach retirement age or fail miserably. Both Kumar and Mahela resigned after taking the team to World Cup finals. They should have been retained as captains for the country’s sake. If they say no, that is totally snubbing their employer, Sri Lanka Cricket. Actions should have been taken for snubbing. (But there are these gossips that they were forced to resign also.) They were decent captains and their performances were never affected by the weight of the captaincy as both of them were seasoned enough by the time they became captains.

I’m not too sure about the common opinion that Jayasuriya is avenging the seniors who were against the former’s inclusion in the national side at a time he was not performing. This could perhaps be true. But what Jayasuriya has to understand is that none of the present day seniors opposed him due to his age. They opposed him because he didn’t perform and he was in the team as an MP and enjoyed extra privileges and used his political links to make it to the team.  But Jayasuriya has no ethical right to “rest” the seniors for the simple reason that they opposed him at the earlier team selections.

I would advise Jayasuriya to pay attention to his political aspirations than messing up national cricket anymore. He has done enough as a player for cricket and we don’t need his service as a selector anymore.

Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) Goes Without Much Excitement


SLPL Banner

I was optimistic when Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) was announced last year and was disappointed when it was postponed mainly due to India not cooperating by refusing to allow Indian players playing in the league. This year, too India did not change her stance and Sri Lanka Cricket decided to go ahead with the much hyped tournament without the Indians. Instead they signed more Pakistan players as if to hurt India. Nothing wrong with the decision as Paks are very good in the field and it is exciting to watch them in action.

But expected excitement was not there with the tournament right from the beginning. It started with a dull opening ceremony with live telecast by a relatively new TV station. I don’t know with others but I did not watch a single match completely though they were telecasted during comfortable time slots. I don’t know if anything wrong with me or is it the general feeling of the others also towards the tournament. Something is missing. Is it the Indians? I don’t think. There are players of high caliber from other countries. It would have been wonderful if Chris Gayle played.

I think the SLPL organizers should carefully study IPL and add more excitement to SLPL. I read somewhere the BPL was a success and there is no reason why we become unsuccessful. Of course SLPL cannot afford big sums of moneys to the players like the IPL but the tournament had done fairly well by signing up the likes of Shahid Afridi. With too many teams playing tests and ODIs in other parts of the world we cannot expect to sign them for this tournament.

Another spoiling factor was having the tournament during a rainy season. We are yet to see the monsoons but for some reason it rained in Colombo and Kandy and the matches had to depend on Duckworth and Lewis.

Crowds were smaller at the grounds but the ‘papara’ bands were playing their music. There were the cheerleaders but they were dressed absurdly decent. They should have dressed stylishly. There is no sin in exposing some more of them at an event like this.