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24 March, 2020 03:44:37 AM

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Hathurusingha tops Mash's list of foreign coaches

MD ABU TALHA SARKER, Dhaka
Hathurusingha tops Mash's list of foreign coaches
In this file photo Bangladesh cricket legends Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (R ) seen with former national team head coach Chandika Hathurusingha .

 

The national cricket team have seen the arrival and departure of many foreign coaches over time.

Some of these coaches, such as Mohinder Amarnath (India), Gordon Greenidge (West Indies), and Eddie Barlow (South Africa), came here before Bangladesh earned its Test status.

Other foreign coaches like Trevor Chappell (Australia), Mohsin Kamal (Pakistan), Dev Whatmore (Australia), Shaun Williams (interim), Richard Pybus (England), Jamie Siddons (Australia), Stuart Law (Australia), Shane Jurgensen (Australia), Chandika Hathurusingha (Sri Lanka), Richard Halsall (interim), Courtney Walsh (interim), Steve Rhodes (England), and Russell Domingo (South Africa) came after the national team got the Test status.

Among all the foreign coaches, Sri Lanka-born Chandika Hathurusingha is rated the best. During his coaching tenure (2014–2017), Bangladesh became successful in their cricket history regardless of opponent teams, wickets, and conditions.

Under Hathurusingha's tutelage, Bangladesh made a meteoric surge in one-day cricket and became virtually unbeatable on home soil.

The team performed well at both home and abroad. They got to the quarterfinal of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup by thrashing top-flight England.

Coming from that world cup, Bangladesh whitewashed Pakistan following their merciless rout of Zimbabwe. They won the ODI series against India, South Africa, Afghanistan, and England. They won a Test against top-notch England and Australia in 2015 and 2016, respectively, and drew the series 1-1.

Despite having drawn in the toughest pool (A), where they were pitted with Australia, New Zealand, England, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Scotland, the Tigers progressed to the semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 by beating England by 15 runs. They drew both one-day and Test series (1-1) against Sri Lanka in their backyard in 2016–17, following a tough fight against India and New Zealand, where the Tigers were winning position in two Tests against the Kiwis.

All these achievements were made during the coaching stint of Hathurusingha, who injected the idea that the Tigers needed to produce a leg-spinner to add variations in the bowling department to win more games at international tournaments.

The Sri Lankan was the first coach who showed Bangladesh to be courageous. He introduced the use of four-pronged pace attack for the first time against strong oppositions on home soil. He emphasised more on developing the pace bowling arsenal to fight against top-flight teams on overseas conditions.  In fact, Hathurusingha is the creator of Mustafizur Rahman, better known as 'cutter-master', who broke the spine of the opposition with his mysterious delivery.

Under Hathurusingha's coaching and Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s charismatic leadership, Bangladesh made a meteoric surge in shorter format of crickets. They also made significant progress in longer-version cricket. Prior to every tour on foreign conditions, Hathurusingha held some closed-door practice sessions and asked the players to play on a concrete slab against deliveries coming out of a bowling machine, which he himself manned. This familiarised the batsmen with quick bowling that they would face in overseas conditions.

A strict disciplinarian, Hathurusingha expected his players to follow a routine. He recalled off-spinning all-rounder Sohag Gazi and pace all-rounder Abu Hossain Raju to the national team. He was the inspiration behind their jaw-dropping performances. But Hathurusingha never hesitated to kick out Gazi for showing negligence in practice for a second time.

All these traits made him unique among the other foreign coaches who came to Bangladesh.

Regarding Chandika Hathurusingha, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, who lost his captaincy in T20 cricket when Bangladesh were touring Sri Lanka in 2017, said his specialty in some areas made him exceptional and different from other coaches. “We are an international cricket team. So, I think every foreign coach who came here were competent. But Chandika Hathurusingha was expert in some basic areas,” he added.

“If you tell me to rate all the foreign coaches of the national cricket team, I’ll keep Hathurusingha on the very top of the list. Though many think that I was forced to retired from T20 due to him, it's not right at all,” he explained.

"I always maintain that Jamie Siddons will come second after Hathurusingha. As a batting coach, Jammie Siddons was responsible for improving exceptional players like Shakib, Tamim, and Musfiq,” he said. Mashrafe, who recently resigned from one-day captaincy, said the new coach should take the team forward following the legacy of Chandika Hathurusingha. “Hathurusingha brought Bangladesh to a certain stage. I think it’s not the right time for us to experiment—it’s time to bring results. The new coach should not experiment with the team, except in some cases. It must be judged where Hathurusingha had brought us and what are we heading towards,” he added.

“Bangladesh cricket, as of now, has come to a shape. You can't afford to experiment with the current team for six to eight months. Maybe you can experiment after a couple of years when a new coach will come and experiment like Hathurusingha. But Bangladesh cricket is not in an experimental phase right now," he stressed.

"The biggest thing is what our cricket board is thinking about the team. Also, it's important to know how much experiment should be allowed under a new coach at present. At the end of the day, our players will have to give the answer before you for their performance! So, I don't understand why Bangladesh cricket is going backward,” he said.

“Experimenting with the team isn't bad. But it's also important to ensure that Bangladesh cricket is not stuck at the place where Hathurusingha had brought us. It’s very important to judge how much we will be moving forward from the current position,” he added.

EA

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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