In his first interview after resigning as Bangladesh coach and subsequently assuming charge of the national cricket team of his native Sri Lanka, Chandika Hathurusingha denied the notion that Bangladesh stalwart Shakib Al Hasan's wish to be rested from the South Africa Tests in September-October contributed to his exit.
In the interview with website Cricbuzz published late last night, Hathurusingha was asked about Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan's comments on December 9, when the Sri Lankan had returned to Bangladesh to complete the formalities of his exit, that the coach was disturbed by Shakib's request, which was eventually granted by the BCB.
“That's not true at all. Mr. Nazmul Hasan is a very clever, intelligent guy,” Hathurusingha told the interviewer. “He must have used it for some other reason. Maybe that is done to fire up Shakib. I see that Shakib has been made the captain now. He must have used that for some reason, reading between the lines. He is very intelligent in handling things.”
It seems from the interview that Hathurusingha's decision to quit, which he conveyed through an email to the BCB boss midway through the ill-fated South Africa tour, had more to do with his wish to coach Sri Lanka and a wish to be with family than any discontent with the Bangladesh setup.
“Firstly, I felt that with Bangladesh, I have taken them to the best position I could. The other thing is that Sri Lanka Cricket had approached with the job for about four times. Then, I am coming to a stage where I can't stay away from my family for too long. My dream was to coach Sri Lanka... if I am spending about three years away from my family coaching Bangladesh and if I want to spend another four years or so coaching Sri Lanka or another country after that, I can't do that. This is the only time.”
This runs contrary to what, on November 9, Hassan said during the press conference announcing Hathurusingha's intention to quit. Hassan then speculated that it was partly because of mistreatment by the press and the players' tendency to talk to the media.
The former Sri Lanka all-rounder, who relinquished a post he was contracted to stay in till the 2019 World Cup, instead seemed to look back fondly on his time coaching Bangladesh.
“Beating Sri Lanka at The [P.Sara] Oval. It was a massive one for so many reasons,” he said when asked about his best moment as a coach. “It was Bangladesh's 100th Test match as well. Beating Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka was a huge achievement. Sri Lanka at home was a very good Test side. Very satisfying personally.”
The shoe will very shortly be on the other foot, as Hathurusingha's first assignment will be a tour of Bangladesh in January.