Hathurusingha’s presence expected to fast-track preparations
After a two-day break, Bangladesh's cricketers are all set to resume their training camp in Mirpur today, where they will be joined by head coach Chandika Hathurusingha.
Although a 26-member preliminary squad had already started training under newly-appointed assistant coach Nick Pothas, the preparation for the upcoming one-off Test against Afghanistan is expected to speed up under Hathurusingha, who returned to Dhaka yesterday following a break.
All other members of the Tigers' coaching staff had already joined the camp, with pace-bowling coach Allan Donald and spin coach Rangana Herath having started working with the players. The selectors are expected to announce the squad by June 6.
Performance analyst Shrinivas Chandrasekaran, who has worked with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League, is set to join the Tigers tomorrow.
Hathurusingha has done well since taking up the Bangladesh job in January, winning a T20I series against England at home following a 2-1 loss in the ODI series.
The Tigers maintained that consistency against Ireland by winning the ODI series and a lone Test at home before going on to win an away series against the same opposition.
However, the upcoming one-off Test against Afghanistan is going be to a trickier proposition for Hathurusinga, considering that Bangladesh lost a Test in Chattogram by 224 runs the only other time when the teams faced each other.
In the absence of skipper Shakib Al Hasan due to a finger injury, it will be interesting to see Bangladesh's approach in the longest format against the likes of Rashid Khan and Co.
But according to Bangladesh Cricket Board director Akram Khan, the hosts should not worry about the threat from Rashid, especially in Tests, and instead focus on utilising home advantage in their favour.
"Rashid Khan is definitely a good bowler and does well, especially in the T20 format. But he does not have exceptional performances in Tests and ODIs because batters don't need to take chances and look for runs against him like they do in T20s. We have played against him in the past and if our batters remain a bit cautious, I don't think there will be such difficulties," Akram told the media yesterday.
However, the former Bangladesh captain reminded that it would be unwise to take Afghanistan lightly, especially in light of their recent form in Sri Lanka. He also added that the one-off Test would be a good opportunity for Bangladesh to avenge the defeat in Chattogram.
"The only Test that we lost against them… I think we were doing well until we had a bad hour or so, which changed the course of the game and eventually led to us losing the Test. I think this is an opportunity for us to take revenge. We are doing well as a team, especially our fast bowlers have been doing well recently so I hope we can win this game," he said.