Cricket: SLC-Hathurusingha standoff continues

8 September 2019 - 104   - 0

A month after Chandika Hathurusingha was asked to relinquish his duties with the national team, his employer Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is trapped between a rock and a hard place, continuing to look for an exit from its standoff with the Head Coach. 

An ironclad contract that SLC signed with him 2018 stands firmly in Hathurusingha’s favour. 

The 50-year-old former Sri Lanka cricketer,. who was "removed" ahead of the recent New Zealand series, is demanding a fair dismissal. 

And he continues to draw his salary without actually doing anything. 

If the Board decides to sack him, which seems to be the only option as negotiations to part ways amicably have failed, they are contractually obliged to pay him a sum equivalent to an year’s salary. 

Hathurusingha was sent off once before, for not following SLC order while serving the national team as its shadow coach in 2009. 

Then, he was paid two months' salary. 

But, today, he maintains a "no-nonsense" stance, leaving the Board in a quandary. 

SLC has offered him three months' pay in a bid to end the impasse. 

But he remains unshaken toward an employer with a bad reputation for hiring and firing coaches. 

The Board is now exploring other options, like continuing with Hathurusingha for the remainder of the term or transferring him to another position. 

“The management committee will meet this week to take a call,” said a highly placed SLC source. 

“He is adamant that we honour the contract. This stand-off has left us in a major quandary. We need to end it so we can negotiate with another party.” 

Hathurusingha was long under scrutiny over the team’s inconsistent performance in international cricket. It wasn’t that Sri Lanka had done better without him. 

It was that his arrival had not heralded the expected turnaround of fortunes in the island. 

Hathurusingha also lost his control of the team in January this year, when the Board, administered by a politically appointed Competent Authority, removed him as selector-on-tour. It was the first sign of discontentment over his work. 

Before this, Hathurusingha had enjoyed a level control over team affairs hitherto unseen for a SLC national coach. 

Under his watch, Sri Lanka has won 24 matches out of 67 international matches across all formats. 

They lost 38. From a purely return-on-investment perspective, he has not delivered enough to justify a huge pay packet exceeding US$ 40,000 a month. 

Also he has lost the support of the dressing room, particularly after he played a major role in dumping Angelo Mathews from captaincy and team after the last Asia Cup.

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