'We don't have an upper hand' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 16, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:33 AM, April 19, 2015

'We don't have an upper hand'

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Sports Reporter

Unlike the sure-shot statements made by cricketers in the last few weeks when they indicated that Bangladesh were favourites to win against Pakistan, coach Chandika Hathurusingha decided to keep things simple.

"I won't say we have an upper hand because the records suggest that they have been playing well in Bangladesh for some reason… maybe the condition suits them or whatever.

"In the past we have won only once [in 32 ODI encounters] but the good thing is that our team is playing as a team and we know our roles. If we play well, I think we will give them a good go this time," Hathurusingha told reporters at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.

When asked if the hosts would have to overcome a mental barrier to beat their South Asian neighbours, he said, "I think the boys are feeling confident. I don't know anything about a mental block, maybe the conditions here are similar to Pakistan, so they are adapting faster than the other teams.

"But if we play to our potential we can give them a good contest," he added.

The main obstacle, according to Hathurusingha, will be the visitors' bowling attack, bolstered by the return of spinner Saeed Ajmal, who was left out of Pakistan's World Cup squad after the ICC deemed his bowling action illegal.

"We haven't seen him with the new action. Hopefully he won't be as effective as before but his experience is something we all have to respect. How we handle him will be a key to the outcome."

As for the Tigers, a key area of concern would be their opening combination. While Tamim Iqbal is yet to find form, Rony Talukdar will only be playing his first game. The Sri Lankan though doesn't see the scenario as a concern.

On another note the coach avoided speaking about Naimur Rahman's outburst against him to the media earlier this month, when the cricket operations chairman criticised the coach for speaking against the board's selection committee and accused the Sri Lankan of breaking the code of conduct.

"I can't comment on these issues. But I think it's unfortunate that attention was diverted to these issues rather than the good things that the team did in the last few days. It's time for us to focus on the team," said Hathurusingha.

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