ASIA CUP 2023
Bangladesh ended their Asia Cup with a satisfying win over India © AFP
Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha said on Friday that he was pleased to see his charges coming up with a collective performance and end their Asia Cup campaign on a high note with a win over India.
“That was one of the most pleasing wins for us lately. Most of the players contributed to this win, so that was pleasing to see. In this Asia Cup series, we had some individual performances, but we didn’t have a collective effort. So, this game was a true collective effort, and that was very pleasing,” Hathurusingha told reporters following their game in Colombo on Friday.
“This win against India is huge for us going into a tournament like the World Cup. It gives us a lot of confidence, especially considering what happened in this tournament. We had a really good run up to the Asia Cup, but, to be honest, we struggled to put forth a collective effort. As I said before, I’m not making excuses, but we played in different conditions like Kandy and Lahore, then returned to play on this wicket. At crucial times, we faced injuries and fitness issues. The pleasant thing for me is seeing the depth of our other players and giving a chance to three guys to showcase their talent. We’re thinking of the World Cup selection, and it provides us a great depth for selecting the 15 players.
“This win against India gives us a lot of confidence and a bit more belief in our combination. We were really concerned about getting a good start, which we didn’t manage in this tournament. Most games saw us three down, and we didn’t get runs from the tail-enders. However, today was different, and such moments boost our confidence heading into the World Cup.”
So is Bangladesh’s 15 for the World Cup sorted? “No, I haven’t got many answers from this win. I did get some, fortunately, and we have another series coming up,” the coach said. “As I mentioned, our main concern was not getting a good start in most games. It’s not easy playing in these conditions, as most teams struggle when the ball turns more. But some of the boys stepped up with commendable performances,” he said.
Hathurusingha added that he is impressed with how the Bangladesh tail-enders put up a noteworthy performance with the bat, helping them post a competitive total. They reached 265/8 after being down to 197/7 at one point, courtesy Nasum Ahmed’s 44 along with unbeaten scores of 29 and 14 respectively from Mahedi Hasan and debutant pace-bowling all-rounder Tanzim Hasan Sakib, who also impressed the coach with his bowling.
“The contribution from the tail-enders gave us a real fighting chance. We were around 190 for seven at one point, so this change in performance, with runs from the tail-enders, allowed us to stay in the game longer,” Hathurusingha said.
Tanzim Sakib made a strong case for his selection in the 15-member World Cup squad by picking two early wickets and delivering a variety of balls flawlessly, showing no nerves despite making his ODI debut. No wonder, the coach was all praise for his performance.
“I don’t think Tanzim Sakib harmed his chances. He truly stood out for World Cup selection. Up until now, we were considering sticking to our four fast bowlers, especially with Ebadot unavailable. But Tanzim showed us his capabilities. I’m confident in relying on or selecting him for the World Cup squad. I don’t think he can jeopardize his chances.”
Hathurusingha also spoke about Mahedi. “As a cricketer, I was very impressed with Mahedi – his attitude towards the game and his confidence while bowling. He played some crucial overs in this game. Whenever Shubman Gill seemed to be taking the game away from us, Mahedi’s performance brought us back. I haven’t seen much of him, but whatever he showcased was impressive.”
Hathurusingha clarified that they hadn’t dropped Mustafizur Rahman, who bowled well in his comeback game against India, picking up three wickets. Instead, Mustafizur hadn’t played much recently because they were rotating their cricketers.
“What do you mean, relief?” the Sri Lankan coach retorted when a journalist asked him if seeing Mustafizur among the wickets was a relief following his absence since the opening game against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup.
“He (Mustafizur) was not dropped. We’ve been rotating our players ahead of the World Cup. If you review our last few series, we’ve been ensuring everyone is match-ready. He is the most experienced among them, so he was the one who sat out most often. I’m aware of what he’s capable of, so no, it’s not a relief to see him perform,” Hathurusingha said, adding that he was disappointed Towhid Hridoy couldn’t capitalize on his fifty against India.
After facing a tough challenge from the Indian bowlers, reducing them to 59-4, Shakib and Hridoy added 101 runs for the fifth wicket, laying the foundation for a challenging total against the tournament favorites.
“He’s very clear about his role and his game at present. He’s been scoring consistently since his T20 debut. However, I was disappointed with him (Hridoy) today because after reaching fifty, he got out prematurely. He could’ve played a more substantial inning, but overall, he understands his role and game,” Hathurusingha concluded.