We need to find own game plan to do well in Test and T20: Hathurusingha

Publish: 9:58 PM, February 22, 2023 | Update: 9:58 PM, February 22, 2023

Chandika Hathurusingha, who returned to Bangladesh as head coach for the second spell vowed to find a proper game plan to make the Tigers a force in the Test and T20 formats, the two formats in which they still remain vulnerable.

In his first spell, which was from 2014-2017, Hathurusingha guided Bangladesh astutely to establish them as a giant for ODI cricket.

Before Hathurusingha’s arrival, Bangladesh showed occasional flashes of brilliance in ODI format but they couldn’t be consistent, which needed to make them a force. Hathurusingha’s master planning was key in making the side super consistent and under his supervision, Bangladesh reached quarterfinal of 2015 World Cup and semifinal of 2017 Champions Trophy.

Their run of success at home in bilateral ODI series also started in Hathurusingha’s first stint as coach. Now this time he was handed the greater responsibility as Bangladesh have the ambition of reaching a certain height in other formats too.

“Test cricket is very competitive. T20 is more popular now. So we have to find our own game plan. As a nation, we know how to play ODI cricket. We need to do well in other formats as well,” Hathurusingha said in his first official press conference today after returning to Bangladesh.

His first assignment will be against world champions England who would play three ODIs and three T20 Internationals against Bangladesh in the next month. England remains the only team since 2015 to beat Bangladesh at home in a bilateral ODI series in 2016.

Hathurusingha now has the chance to take the revenge but he said he won’t give any plan for the series as he would like to observe the player and rely on the opinions of others for the time being.

“I would like to observe the players in the upcoming series. For now, I am relying on the observation and opinions of the other members to judge the team,” he informed.

“For now, I am looking to create a good combination for the team,” he further said.

Hathurusingha’s first spell as head coach was eventful, mostly for negative reasons as he was blamed to be autocratic, a thing for which he was criticized and it also played a role in his awkward relations with senior players.

Terming him as more experienced now, the former Sri Lanka player said: “Compared to my previous stint as Bangladesh’s coach, I am more experienced now. I know better about Bangladesh cricket. And it’s not just me who will guide Bangladesh cricket forward, but the local coaches have a role too and they have been doing really well over the years.”

“I’ve always followed Bangladesh cricket. I have always had a soft corner for Bangladesh cricket. I wanted to come back to Bangladesh someday.”

“Many players have been playing well for Bangladesh. Young players have also come up and played well. So being with that team is always great. It motivates me the most.”

He also talked about senior players, saying that their roles will not change much. “The senior players have been playing great roles for Bangladesh. I don’t think their roles will change much.”

And at the same time, he sidestepped the issue that whether he will be changed as a coach by quipping that: “If you ask me if I will be changed as a coach this time compared to my previous stint, I would say that this time I am a bit older.”

But one thing for sure won’t change — Bangladesh will play to their strength at home ground always as Hathurusingha made it clear once again. In his first stint, due Hathurusingha’s plan, Bangladesh prepared a rage turner to beat Australia and England at home in Test cricket. He was criticized vehemently in and off the country to tailor the pitch.

“Choosing spinners at home is about taking advantage of the home ground. When we are in New Zealand, we will go for pacers, and this is what every country does (take advantage of the home ground),” he added.