Sri Lanka's cricket coach Chandika Hathurusingha speaks during a press conference in Chester-le-Street, England. File photo/AFP
Chandika Hathurusingha insisted on Monday he would remain Sri Lanka's cricket coach despite pressure to step down after their World Cup exit.
Sri Lanka started the tournament as rank outsiders and finished sixth of the nine teams, registering one of their three wins against the world's top-ranked one-day international side and hosts England.
Local media reported Monday that Sri Lanka sports minister Harin Fernando was unhappy with Hathurusingha's performance and that he would be asked to step down.
But Hathurusingha told reporters on landing back in Colombo that though he had expected better from the team he would still see out his contract as coach.
"I have another 16 months," Hathurusingha said. "I hope to remain until my contract runs out."
Asked if accepted responsibility for Sri Lanka failing to qualify for the semi-finals, Hathurusingha said the entire team management should share the blame.
"All of us must accept responsibility for what happened. I think we expected better performance... We have to think. We must learn from this and move forward. I think I have done to the best of my ability."
Sri Lanka lost four and won three matches at the World Cup with two abandoned due to rain.
"If the head coach refuses to step down, we can't force him out, but we can appoint another above him," Fernando was quoted as saying in the mass-circulation Lankadeepa daily.
Sri Lanka cricket was in crisis when Hathurusingha was appointed in December 2017 after a successful three-year spell in charge of Bangladesh during which he presided over Test wins against England and Australia.
Sri Lanka at the time had just been hammered in Tests by India home and away and had played poorly in one-day internationals.
Paceman Tim Southee missed out due to a calf injury as the Kiwis -- runners-up in the 2015 edition -- went in with two all-rounders in their starting line-up.
It was a superb display by the underdog Black Caps, who came into the match on the back of three straight defeats by Pakistan, Australia and England and only qualified for the semi-finals on net run-rate, while India topped the 10-team group stage.
Reigning champions Australia made one change after a surprise 10-run defeat by South Africa at Old Trafford, with the recently called-up Peter Handscomb replacing injured batsman Usman Khawaja.
“To all my friends in Dubai and the UAE, this is a really difficult moment and we need to take care of us and others as well,” said Figo.
“It was a great relief to see him deliver last start after the trouble he’d encountered at his previous two,” said trainer James Cummings.
The Premier League has been postponed until at least April 30 because of the pandemic and it is feared the season will be delayed again when English football’s stakeholders meet to discuss the crisis on Friday.