Not sure whether Hathu will be given a free hand – Murali

World’s highest wicket taker Muttiah Muralitharan expressed his reservations yesterday whether Chandika Hathurusingha will be given a free hand in coaching Sri Lanka. After the former Test opener tendered his resignation as Bangladesh Head Coach, the 49-year-old has been linked with the Sri Lankan job, but Muralitharan doubted whether his former Tamil Union team-mate will be given a free hand.

Along with then captain Kumar Sangakkara, Muralitharan played a key role in diverting the services of Hathurusingha to the national team as understudy to Head Coach Trevor Bayliss in 2009. Hathurusingha had been doing a fine job with the ‘A’ team and made an immediate impact with the senior side earning a reputation for strategies, but in 2010, disagreement with then Board President D.S. de Silva saw him being sacked.

“When he came to the national side as a coach in 2009, we all thought he was going to be the next coach. He was so good. Then he was upset with whatever happened and migrated to Australia,” Muralitharan said in an interview with The Island.

“When it comes to coaching, the man in charge has to be given freedom. I am not too sure whether the board will give him that freedom They can bring the best coach in the world, but no point if he were not given the freedom,” Muralitharan wondered.

Muralitharan’s concerns are shared by most ex-players and the cricket fraternity in general. Former coaches Trevor Bayliss, Geoff Marsh and Graham Ford have openly or privately expressed their concerns after interferences to the national team by powerful administrators and politicians.

The current administration stands accused of interfering into the affairs of the team and the selection process like never before. Current coach Nic Pothas after Sri Lanka’s defeat in the recent home ODI series to India alleged that there were ‘too many cooks’ meddling with the affairs of the team.

“Hatu has the ability no doubt and he has done exceptionally well in whatever the coaching assignment he has taken on. But it’s not like that one man can change the whole thing. It takes time. You have to be patient. The selectors and the coaching staff should have the same thought process,” Muralitharan further elaborated.

“We need to also have the players who are capable of facing the challenge. The other point we will face is that the Bangladesh Cricket Board is yet to release him. If it ends up in a legal battle, I am not too sure what will happen,” Muralitharan went onto say.

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