Somachandra de Silva’s power trip led to Hathurusingha’s axing

Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket Somchandra de Silva called Chandika Hathurusingha via team manager Anura Tennekoon’s mobile phone and asked him to change the side after Sri Lanka lost to India on May 30, 2010 – in the second match of the Zimbabwe Tri-Series, according to explosive revelations made by the former ‘Shadow Coach’ Chandika Hathurusingha.

Hathurusingha was appointed as an understudy to coach Trevor Bayliss but was strangely fired from his position prompting skipper Kumar Sangakkara to submit a letter requesting his return. Sri Lanka Cricket officials ignored Sangakkara’s request and now Hathurusingha has obtained residency in Australia which has allowed him to publicise his point of view.

The following is what he told Sa’adi Thawfeeq,

"We went to West Indies, Florida and then Zimbabwe. Prior to going to West Indies I had this Level 3 coaching course arranged in Australia, it was agreed and funded by SLC. I had signed a bond with SLC saying that they were going to fund the 10-day course. It was on June 13 and I was supposed to leave on June 11. The Zimbabwe tour was to end on June 8. When we were in Florida we got to know that the Zimbabwe tour had been extended following a request from India”.

“The team manager informed me that the original tickets which had come for June 8 would be changed to June 11. I informed him if that was the case I might have to go a bit early because I was supposed to go to Australia on June 11. We got to know about the change through Nishantha Ranatunga (SLC secretary) who had come for a function to Florida. I informed Nishantha about this and he said he had no problem as long as I got permission from the manager and the head coach. We all agreed there that I could leave on the original day June 8. I didn’t have to write to anyone because it was the manager’s job”.

“When we were in Zimbabwe I told the manager to proceed and said that I was leaving on June 8. He informed SLC that I was returning on June 8. In the mean time SLC had emailed the manager and asked why I had left early. By the time the email reached the manager I had left and was already on the flight. SLC then issued me with a notice saying that I had abandoned the tour. My answer was if I had done so the manager had to report it. They had an inquiry and at the inquiry Trevor Bayliss (coach) and Anura Tennekoon (manager) said that I had returned to Sri Lanka with their permission. I got the e-ticket from the manager’s email. There was no official request from SLC for me not to come”.

“After we lost the first Indian game, there was an unofficial call from chairman SLC through the manager’s phone asking me to change the team combination. In that conversation I told him that I had to return to Colombo on June 8. He was very conscious about us losing but I assured him that we won’t be losing that we will come to final. Then he said if Sri Lanka came to the final he wanted me to be there with the team. That is the only request he made casually. I told him I didn’t have the power to change team combinations because I was the third person on the tour after the coach and assistant coach. I don’t know whether that reply offended him and made him take this action against me. That was the only thing there was no official letter or anything to the effect asking me not to come”.

“They issued me with a show cause notice saying I had abandoned the tour and I had disobeyed the chairman’s request. The inquiry was held but I was not allowed to be represented by a lawyer. After that I didn’t see the inquiry judgment because they didn’t show it to me but I was issued another letter saying that my services were terminated because I was found guilty of the show cause notice. What I fail to understand is there was no official complaint by the manager and there was no official request for me from SLC asking me to stay back with the team, until I left. I only had a verbal discussion with the chairman that’s all”.

“The decision taken by SLC to sack me came as a surprise. I never expected it because I still don’t think I have done anything wrong. I had come back to Colombo to follow a study course in Australia which was approved and funded by SLC. I returned to Sri Lanka with the consent of the authority I was under at that time, the manager and the head coach both gave me permission to come back. They had duly informed SLC and there was no official request from anyone for me not to come back early. From the results you can see that my leaving early didn’t affect the team because we won the final. The two coaches were there to handle the final and only one practice session. My work with the team was done prior to that. The coaching course was going to benefit not only me but SLC also. The bond I had signed with SLC said that I had to work for three years which I was willing to do.”

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