A legacy of unprofessionalism? | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 13, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:43 AM, January 13, 2018

A legacy of unprofessionalism?

Chandika Hathurusingha did not submit a coach's report, a standard practice, after the tour of South Africa. That is one of two things that fans of Bangladesh cricket know for certain about the premature exit of the coach under whom Bangladesh has had most success. The other came from the horse's mouth when, in a recent interview, the Sri Lankan said that he quit his Bangladesh post because he could not take the team any further. 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) had wanted a formal report from the coach, but they confirmed that all they got was a verbal one when Hathurusingha came to complete the final rites in the second week of December 2017. Additionally, Hathurusingha's temporary successor and current technical director of the team Khaled Mahmud said that he did not know about any formal report on the previous tour, the contents of which would have been helpful in guiding the team ahead of their next assignment. The next assignment, coincidentally, is an ODI tri-series and Test and T20I series that involve Sri Lanka, the team currently coached by Hathurusingha.

Since Hathurusingha's resignation midway through the South Africa tour in September-October last year, the reasons for his exit have been shrouded in conjecture chiefly from BCB president Nazmul Hassan. The speculation ranged from current Test captain Shakib Al Hasan asking for a break from Test cricket before the South Africa tour to the players being too intimate with the media.

However, the facts paint a clearer picture of a coach who quit after serving just one year of a three-year contract -- which was renewed mid-2016 -- before failing to submit a report after being at the helm for Bangladesh's worst tour in a decade.

Hathurusingha insisted, in the interview he gave to Cricbuzz on December 29, that he quit because he needed enough time to coach Sri Lanka -- his long-cherished ambition -- before he reached an age when he would want to spend more time with family, and that he had taken Bangladesh 'to the best position' he could, which evidently means seven comprehensive hammerings on a tour of South Africa. If his words are taken at face value, it begs the question of why he signed on for a three-year contract in the first place if he was in a hurry to coach Sri Lanka. 

Hathurusingha returns to Bangladesh today as coach of the Sri Lanka team, and he may wonder about the legacy he has left after a three-year coaching stint in this country.

He is a coach feted for his planning and professionalism, but on the evidence of his exit, only the former can be true, and that too when it comes to his own coaching career. Sri Lanka had offered him the position numerous times, but he chose to take it up and desert his post in Bangladesh at a time when the team was at its lowest since the time Hathurusingha took charge in mid-2015. He also left his post without furnishing his employers with a formal report on the South Africa debacle, which can only have hamstrung his former charges for matches against his current charges.

While he has been an integral part of Bangladesh cricket's most successful phase, it will be hard to argue that the manner of his exit has not harmed the team he was in charge of.

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