Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) appointment of Chandika Hathurusingha as Head Coach for a record salary was justified owing to his previous record in Bangladesh where the perennial minnows reached unprecedented heights during his first stint with a Test team.
Twelve months into his 36-month contract with the Sri Lankan team, however, it is being questioned whether he is worth the cash being dished out on him.
The national team has fallen from the frying pan into the fire and there are no signs of them reaching former heights.
There may have been many factors that contributed to the deplorable state of Sri Lankan cricket.
But fingers are pointing towards the coach, a former Sri Lankan opener, for having failed to deliver on his promises.
Media suggested this week that Hathurusingha has charged SLC a whopping US$ 60,000 (Rs 10.8mn) to submit a biannual assessment report.
It is learnt, however, that the payment is an entitlement under his employment contract--and that it was not for an assessment report as stated.
When first approached by SLC in 2017, Hathurusingha had demanded that they match the US$ 40,000 a month he was receiving from the Bangladesh Cricket Board. SLC were searching for Graham Ford's successor and agreed. But the contract was broken down into several components.
Hathurusingha is, accordingly, entitled to a basic salary of US$ 20,000 a month (Rs 3.6mn), of which he has to pay 16 percent as PAYE tax; US$ 10,000 (Rs. 1.8mn) as living allowance; US$ 120,000 (Rs 21.6mn) as strategic planning and consultancy fees, to be paid back in advance biannually; and up to US$ 20,000 (Rs 3.6mn) reimbursement of his travelling expenses per year. This works out to a monthly salary of US$ 41,666 (Rs 7.5mn).
‘I can’t reveals the details of his contracts but we are making him payments under the contractual obligations we have,” said cricket CEO Ashely de Silva when asked whether SLC made a bulk payment of USD 60,000 to Hathurusingha.
This is in addition to other perks like per diems, international health insurance, car, fuels and incentives a Senior Manager of SLC is entitled to.
Hathurusingha now lives in New South Wales, Australia, his home since he was sacked as Sri Lanka's shadow coach in 2010.
His contract with SLC continues till the end of 2020 but with the team's poor performance it is unlikely that he will be retained that long unless there is a dramatic improvements within the next few months.
Hathurusingha played 26 Tests and 35 ODIs for Sri Lanka before becoming the shadow coach under Trevor Bayliss.
He was then appointed Coach for Australia’s New South Wales side, landing the more lucrative Bangladesh job in May 2014.
Under him, Sri Lanka won a series in Bangladesh, recorded the country’s first Test win in the West Indies and beat South Africa 2-0 in a Test series.
But performance has not been consistent across all formats. England beat Sri Lanka soundly at home 3-0 and the team also suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of New Zealand in Tests towards the latter part of last year.
In ODIs, Sri Lanka won a tri-series in Bangladesh but crashed out of the Nidahas Trophy final in Colombo, fell to South Africa, England and New Zealand and had a shock first round exit at the Asia Cup after losing their opening encounters to Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
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