Sri Lanka was considering applications from three “top international cricket coaches”, Sports Minister Harin Fernando said Tuesday amid reports incumbent Chandika Hathurusingha has been asked to quit.
Following Sri Lanka’s disappointing World Cup, where they finished in sixth-place, Hathurusingha and his assistants were expected to be shown the door ahead of the upcoming home series against New Zealand next month.
Fernando said there were three top international coaches willing to replace Hathurusingha, a former Sri Lankan Test player.
Without naming Hathurusingha, the minister said the coach’s remuneration – $40,000 a month – was too high, adding: “If we are winning only 35 percent of the games, no need to pay such high fees to coaches.”
Fernando said the international candidates were asking for lower salaries of between $17,500 to $25,000 a month, but did not name them. He suggested Hathurusingha could be retained at a lower salary.
“For the price we are paying now, we can get two foreign coaches,” he said.
“We must renegotiate the high fees we are paying at the moment. If they don’t agree, they can go,” he said.
Meanwhile Hathurusingha has insisted he would stay to see out his contract.
“I have another 16 months,” he told reporters earlier this month after returning to Colombo from the World Cup in England. “I hope to remain until my contract runs out.”
Hathurusingha also acknowledged that team management had to “accept responsibility for what happened”.
Sri Lanka cricket was in crisis when Hathurusingha was appointed in December 2017, after a successful three-year spell in charge of Bangladesh.
They had just been hammered in Tests by India at home and away, and played poorly in one-day internationals. Under Hathurusingha, Sri Lanka notched up Test wins against England and Australia.
The first Test against New Zealand will be played in Galle starting August 14, and the second will begin on August 22 at Colombo’s P. Sara stadium.
Three T20s will be played on August 31, September 2 and September 6.