‘High hopes’ encompass Bangladesh camp
Bangladesh have had two good warm-up games against Sri Lanka and England ahead of their opening World Cup match against Afghanistan today at Dharamshala's Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium.
While batting appears to be the Tigers' biggest area of concern against an experienced Afghan spin attack, head coach Chandika Hathurusingha did not have to address questions about the creaky batting unit, which has recently blown hot and cold.
However, there was a desire to learn what Bangladesh's expectations are for the tournament. Thus, Chandika was asked about the realistic expectations the team had.
"Yeah, we all want to win the World Cup but as you rightly asked me, realistically is that if we win four-five games, we give ourselves a chance to get into the semifinal of the knockout stage - that's our first aim," the head coach said at the press conference yesterday.
He also clarified that his task was to take the pressure off players, in regards to the comments he had made in an interview where he had pointed out that people need to stop dreaming and wake up about World Cup expectations.
"People can dream, people can aim, people can have goals. Whatever the word you use, it is the same thing. We're trying to have a good World Cup and win matches. That's the main aim for me. As I just said to him, our aim is to get into the semifinal, that can be a dream or can be an aim - doesn't matter," Chandika added.
A lot will depend on the conditions for the game. Dharamshala have been known to help with swing bowling despite the weather not being too cold.
Bangladesh will put their faith in the resurgent pace unit. Skipper Shakib Al Hasan, however, demonstrated in the recent Asia Cup game against India how slower bowlers like Mahedi Hasan, Mehedi Hasan Miraz, and Nasum Ahmed can come into the equation to not only restrict runs but also pressurise opponents into playing shots.
"Yeah, it depends on the surface to be honest and the way the game is going to expand. We will tactically use our bowling resources. Sometimes we might come with a plan against the opposition and the conditions that we see before the game. Then after that, it's up to the captain to use his bowling resources," Chandika remarked about how the bowling unit may be used.
Bangladesh do have a relatively young squad with four players from the 2020 U-19 World Cup-winning squad also in the mix. While Shoriful Islam and Tawhid Hridoy have turned up with performances on a regular basis, youngsters Tanzid Hasan Tamim and Tanzim Hasan Sakib may also have important roles to play.
Chandika believes having these young players gives the team more energy.
"Yeah, we have I think four-five players that are from that World Cup. They will bring so much positivity to the group, because they have done it in the past.
"I'm excited for the whole team and even for my staff, because the World Cup for everybody is every four years and this is one of the biggest events in ICC calendar. We all have high hopes and want to enjoy it."