Though Hathurusingha had handed his resignation to the Bangladesh Cricket Board as early as October, the boards had been in discussions with the coach, and indeed with each other, as to what a peaceable relocation of Hathurusingha might look like. But SLC has now confirmed that Hathurusingha will begin his three-year contract with Sri Lanka on December 20, just as Sri Lanka’s T20s against India start. A two Test tour of Bangladesh is set to begin in January.
Hathurusingha is also due to visit Dhaka on Saturday, presumably in order to debrief and finalise his release from the BCB. He had signed on with Bangladesh until the 2019 World Cup, but eventually agreeing to take the job with his home country, following several approaches from SLC. He had been Sri Lanka’s A team coach, and an assistant coach with the national team, before his relationship with a previous SLC administration soured in 2010.
That SLC has secured Hathurusingha’s services is both a victory for the Sri Lanka board, as well as a substantial financial commitment. Sri Lanka has been without a long-term head coach since Graham Ford’s resignation in June, and the board has struggled to attract high-quality applicants to the role. In order to lure Hathurusingha, however, the board had had to more or less match the figure he was being paid by the Bangladesh Cricket Board – a sum in the vicinity of $340,000 (though aspects of his pay package with BCB were also determined by team performance).
Hathurusingha’s tenure with Bangladesh had been marked by progress, both in the limited-overs formats, and in Tests, where they achieved maiden victories against Australia, Sri Lanka and England, under Hathurusingha’s watch. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, have had a difficult year across formats, and will now count on Hathurusingha to replicate the success he had had with his previous team. Highly-rated by virtually every Sri Lanka player who had worked with him in the past, the likes of Rangana Herath, Kumar Sangakkara, Angelo Mathews, and current Sri Lanka batting coach Thilan Samaraweera, have all credited Hathurusingha with having had a positive effect on their cricket.