by Champika Fernando
Sri Lanka Cricket will ring in some major changes in the national team ahead of the T20 leg of the ongoing series in South Africa after the islanders conceded yet another limited-over series defeat.
With the team’s fortunes in limited-over cricket reaching unprecedented lows in recent months, and with the World Cup just around the corner, the board has decided to replace the head coach for the remainder of the series while a new captain likely to lead the side to the World Cup.
Accordingly, Chandika Hathurusingha will be asked to return at the end of the ODI series in which Sri Lanka has conceded 3-0 with two matches to go. In the interim, current fielding coach Steve Rixon will take the job and is likely to herd the team to the World Cup in July. The Sports Ministry earlier sought the Attorney General’s advice on the possibility of terminating Hathurusingha’s contract.
These decisions were reached after Board officials held discussions with the Minister of Sports Harin Fernando and cricket selectors on Monday and in principle agreed to relieve the current head coach of his responsibilities in an effort to end the slide.
Also in the firing line is Captain Lasith Malinga who will be replaced by either Angelo Mathews or Dimuth Karunaratne.
Mathews has led the side twice in the past and will be the top-notch candidate but they are also discussing the name of Karunaratne, given how admirably he led Sri Lanka to a 2-0 historic Test victory against South Africa last month. To his disadvantage is his lack of experience in the format, having last represented Sri Lanka in an ODI during the 2015 World Cup.