Melbourne: Gearing up for their biggest battle against defending champions India in the World Cup quarter-finals, Bangladesh chief coach Chandika Hathurusingha said on Monday that his wards “do not have to prove anything to anyone”.
“For us, we have nothing to prove to anyone because we know that we are good. And that’s precisely the reason we are here. We are here to embrace the opportunity presented to us and enjoy the situation,” Hathurusingha of Sri Lankan origin said during an interaction at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The coach didn’t swell too much on the strength of their formidable opponents but praised India’s fast bowling unit.
“India are playing very good cricket. They are a good batting side. But the key has been how well their fast bowlers have bowled. That’s one area that we would probably keep an eye on,” Hathurusingha said.
He also shied away from talking about Bangladesh’s 2007 shock win over India at Port of Spain.
The 46-year-old, who played 26 Tests for Sri Lanka as an opener between 1991 and 1999, has been a calming influence on the team. Along with Heath Streak and Ruwan Kalpage, he has got the team on an upward curve in the past eight months as Bangladesh played some good cricket.
Asked what has been the difference between Bangladesh teams of the past and this current batch, which has qualified for the last eight, Hathurusingha replied, “I can’t speak about past as I have not seen Bangladesh’s dressing rooms of earlier times. But this team believes in itself. I think we always talk about clear role for our players.
“The boys have been told to play with freedom. We are not afraid to make decisions in the middle and the culture we have created in the dressing room has also helped.”
Is there any recipe for success, the coach answered, “I don’t think there is any secret to our success. The preparation was thorough. Not playing a lot of cricket in the lead up to the World Cup was a good thing as we reached Brisbane bit early to acclimatise to the Australian conditions. That was a key thing.
“Also we are peaking at the right time. All our key players are in form and there are lesser number of injuries.
“The players are improving with every game.”
On whether Bangladesh have done enough to retain their Test status when ICC is cutting down on the number of Associate nations in the World Cup, Hathurusingha said his team has shown a lot of talent in the past few months.
“For us, it’s all about how we can improve as a Test nation. In last few months, we have shown how much talent we have and how much we can improve. We have to try and do well in each game,” he said.
The coach said the team would need to play to their potential while facing India.
“I think key is to play to our potential. The key towards beating an established side on a day, if we play to our potential and the established side does not measure up, we can beat them,” he said.
Hathurusingha has coached Australian club sides in grade cricket and that he believes has helped him.
“It has massively helped. Knowing the conditions helped me prepare a team and also chalk out specific training for these conditions we would encounter. We changed a few techniques knowing limitations of sub-continental players,” he reasoned.
While Bangladesh have a “gameplan” for all oppositions, Hathurusingha wants captain Mashrafe Mortaza to take some instantaneous decisions on the field.
“We have a general gameplan as to how we want to go about things. Then the captain is free to take his own decisions on field according to how things progress and condition changes.
“We do have different gameplans for different oppositions.”
There is a forecast of passing spell of shower on Thursday but Hathurusingha doesn’t want to think about it.
“About forecast of rain, you can’t plan for rain. I think that the wicket is not going to spin that much. All I know is we are playing on the same pitch that we have played against Sri Lanka. So we know what to expect,” Hathurusingha concluded.