Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha has said that it would be unfair to call the Bangladesh team weak without the presence of ace allrounder Shakib Al Hasan.
Shakib, who has been suspended from international cricket for six months, will not be able to take part in Bangladesh's tour of the West Indies in August and their home series against Zimbabwe in October.
When asked if Shakib's suspension would affect the team Hathurusingha said, “It's very unfair to think that way because there are another 10 players playing. It's a team. For me it's the Bangladesh team. Whoever replaces him or whoever comes into the team, I expect them to do their best. For me it's the Bangladesh team that is going forward.”
He however did not provide a clear answer when asked if he would ask the board to reconsider their decision.
“That's an internal matter. I don't want to discuss it in public. What we are doing is what we are doing. The board has made the decision and I am working for the board. It's for the betterment of Bangladesh cricket as well as betterment of the individual players. We will do the best for Bangladesh team,” said the Sri Lankan at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium at Mirpur today.
The Sri Lankan, who arrived on Monday night, observed the national team's training camp yesterday afternoon and had multiple meetings with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) acting CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury and directors Akram Khan and Khaled Mahmud.
While he was present during the ODI series against India this year, he officially begins his stint this month. Bangladesh are yet to win an ODI this year. They lost nine out of the ten ODIs they played in 2014, with the other being washed out.
It was a rude awakening of sorts for the Sri Lankan who saw his side go down to an Indian team without their top players. On a typical batting track at Mirpur, Bangladesh, despite scoring 272 -- their fourth-highest score against India in Dhaka -- were trampled over by India's batting.
The condition of the wickets in the next two ODIs however saw a huge change as both the Indians and the hosts struggled in conditions which saw plenty of assistance for pacers.
A rare sight in Bangladesh, the change surprised many in the cricketing community. The Sri Lankan admitted that the change was a part of the plan.
“For me it's the India team (not a weakened side) because they are a pretty good team. We played different ways, like in the first game we played on a batting wicket and I think we batted okay. The second and third games we changed the conditions just to see how we can cope.
“I was pretty happy with the bowlers, but then again I understand the conditions helped. Overall we need to improve in both batting and bowling,” said Hathurusingha.
In a bid to guide Bangladesh out of their rut Hathurusingha said that the board has hired a mental conditioning coach in order to help the players prepare
“We have asked one of the mental conditioning coaches to come and work with us as well. That's one area we are seriously considering to give the players some support. It's all about starting new and starting fresh,” he said.