Charith Se­nanayake va­cates Man­ager post

Look­ing to sack field­ing coach too!

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - SPORTS - By Champika Fer­nando

An ugly per­son­al­ity clash be­tween the Head Coach and Team Man­ager has now reached a boil­ing point, with the man­ager re­lin­quish­ing his du­ties with im­me­di­ate ef­fect, ac­cus­ing the coach of con­spir­ing to get rid of him.

Charith Se­nanayake, for­mer Sri Lanka crick­eter, re­placed Asanka Gu­rus­inha, who took up the po­si­tion of Chief Cricket Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer as team man­ager in July, in time for the South African se­ries. He is likely to be ap­pointed to the Sri Lanka 'A' team.

He made this de­ci­sion af­ter meet­ing the SLC hi­er­ar­chy on Fri­day in Galle where the na­tional team suf­fered a hefty 211- run de­feat in the first Test against Eng­land. He has been ac­cused of be­ing detri­men­tal to the team.

The two had been at log­ger­heads since the dis­as­trous Asia Cup where the Man­ager was re­lieved of all but lo­gis­ti­cal ar­range­ments dur­ing that se­ries. His ap­point­ment was ini­tially for the pe­riod up to the Asia Cup, it was extended up to the cur­rent tour.

“How­ever, in this in­stance, I am not pre­pared to ac­cept if any other in­di­vid­ual [ sic] try­ing to get rid of me for their short­com­ings, self­ish or per­sonal gains at my cost mak­ing me the ul­ti­mate scape­goat sec­ond time around,” Se­nanayake wrote to Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Ash­ley de Silva, few days be­fore he de­cided to walk away.

Se­nanayake was shown the door ahead of Sri Lanka’s tour to South Africa in December 2016, just ten months into his two year con­tract. At that time, the Board claimed he was not sacked but ro­tated— as part of a new ‘ ro­ta­tion pol­icy’— of the Thi­langa Su­math­ipala ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“I se­ri­ously have no is­sues in SLC re­plac­ing me if I have let the Team or SLC down or failed in my du­ties at any time,” he says in an email to the CEO af­ter lat­ter had not re­sponded to his What­sapp mes­sages on the same mat­ter.

“I am sure that you agree that I han­dled many tough sit­u­a­tions with ut­most pro­fes­sion­al­ism whilst safe­guard­ing the best in­ter­ests of both SLC and the team dur­ing the SA, Asia Cup and on­go­ing English tour at all times."

The Man­ager was an in­te­gral part of the team man­age­ment be­fore Hathu­rus­ingha’s en­try into the Sri Lanka fold. The Head Coach soon de­manded full con­trol over the team and de­ci­sion- mak­ing process. This meant some of the pow­ers vested in the Man­ager, like head­ing se­lec­tions on tour, were re­moved.

“Thus, I would be grate­ful if you can kindly in­di­cate to me where I stand right now since lot of work is pil­ing up re­lat­ing to New Zealand, Aus­tralia and South African tours where Chandima ( Ma­p­atuna) re­quires my as­sis­tance," the let­ter states.

"Though I do not have a con­tract in hand, I have al­ready sorted out most of the lo­gis­tics and other is­sues in­clud­ing visas, etc with­out any ex­pec­ta­tions sim­ply with the best in­ter­est in my heart for the game, in­sti­tu­tion and the team. How­ever, un­til I hear from you or have a con­tract in hand, I shall re­frain from do­ing any fur­ther work re­lat­ing to th­ese three tours with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.”

In the let­ter Se­nanayake also de­mands an im­me­di­ate re­liev­ing of his du­ties if he is no longer go­ing to be the Man­ager, say­ing any re­place­ment should take over ur­gently in or­der to en­sure con­ti­nu­ity: “Fur­ther­more, if I am no longer the Team Man­ager, I kindly re­quest you to re­lieve me off my du­ties with im­me­di­ate ef­fect or at the end of the first Test as it will not be healthy for the team en­vi­ron­ment to have me around. The new ap­pointee should take over ur­gently in or­der to en­sure con­ti­nu­ity.”

Coach Hathu­rus­ingha was not avail­able for comment but SLC CEO Ash­ley de Silva said he is me­di­at­ing to set­tle the is­sue. "Yes," he con­firmed re­ceiv­ing the let­ter. "We are in the process of sort­ing it out."

Mean­while, SLC is also look­ing at the pos­si­bil­ity of re­plac­ing Field­ing Coach Manoj Abey­wick­rama as Sri Lanka's field­ing stan­dards have pum­meled to dis­grace­ful lev­els.

Se­nanayake dis­cussing the sta­tus cuo with SLC Com­pe­tent Author­ity Ka­mal Pad­masiri at Galle- Pic by Amila Ga­m­age

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