Chandika Hathurusingha has admitted that he always wanted to come back to the Bangladesh set-up after taking over as the head coach for the second time recently. Hathurusingha began his second stint recently as Bangladesh’s head coach following the resignation of Russell Domingo.
Hathurusingha departed in 2017 to take over the Sri Lanka head coach role and in between Bangladesh tried Steve Rhodes and Russell Domingo to fill his boots but it went in vain which in turn prompted the board to re-appoint their tried and tested tactician who managed to guide Bangladesh to the ICC World Cup quarterfinal and Champions Trophy semi-final earning wins over India, South Africa, England and Australia along the way.
“I have been following Bangladesh cricket since I left and time to time many players and officials were in touch with me in various times and situations. I always had a soft corner for Bangladesh cricket because that was my first international assignment. So back of my mind I wanted to come back someday but never thought that it will come this early,” Hathurusingha told reporters at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Wednesday (February 22).
“I think during the T20 World Cup I met the president, some of the officials and we discussed few things and I thought that this is the right time to come with the 2023 50-over World Cup coming up and if I come bit late after the New South Wales season it will be too late so I thought it was the right time to come and as soon as Big Bash finished I decided to come,” said Hathurusingha adding that he had offer from BCB on more than two occasions earlier.
“This time I am much more experienced and know how Bangladesh cricket works,” he said. “Its not only winning games though that’s the major focus but at the same time giving something back and leaving something behind.”
Hathurusingha said that he wants to be part of the transitional period that Bangladesh will head towards in the next two or three years. “I think its a transitional period going forward in two or three years. Lot of senior players have done really well for Bangladesh cricket and they are probably the legends of Bangladesh Cricket and going to be remembered as a really good generation and then on the other side there are good young players coming through and to be a part of that challenge is always motivating to come back,” he said.
Hathurusingha added that he wants to act as an observer during his first series and expects the members of the coaching panel to guide him. “I haven’t seen the new guys and so what I will do is in this series I will observe. I think they have been playing very good cricket and they had a very good series against India, probably try to do the same thing (against England). I am relying on the other coaching staff and the leadership of the team to give me lot of information so let’s see first two games will be more like that and I take it from there,” he said.
Hathurusingha said that he doesn’t have any problems with senior cricketers and added that he won’t change their roles as long as it serves the team. Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah are probably at the fag end of their careers and following Hathursingha’s arrival, questions have been asked about their futures.
“The roles they (senior players) are playing they have done it for 15, 12 long years and they are going to play the role as long as they are playing and get selected. I don’t think their roles change much because they are world class players and they have been successful whatever the roles they have been playing,” he said.
“I have spoken with all the seniors already and everybody’s focus is one thing that team is number one and even the previous time I didn’t have any challenges with any of the players and my challenge is getting everybody to focus and I don’t think its going to be a challenge handling the seniors,” he pointed out.
The arrival of Hathurusingha also raised the question of whether Bangladesh would go for tailor-made wickets considering it was one of his major strengths. “I am asking you, what is home advantage? What sort of wickets we get when we go to New Zealand? What does Australia or England do when we go there? What is India doing at home? We will try to manage with what we have,” said Hathurusingha.
“If we don’t have missiles, how do you fight? We have to fight guerilla war, isn’t it? We can’t battle them with little guns at home. If we don’t have ammunition, we can’t do it. We can develop those players, so eventually we have enough. They did well in South Africa and New Zealand. Ebadot and Shanto went to New Zealand when I was here, as development players. They are now doing well. It takes time. We need to take home advantage. Every country is doing it. I cannot follow other teams. We are not them. We need our strength, our game plan. It is one of the challenges that I am looking forward to, working with the team.
“I remember the Dhaka Premier League has been a 50-over competition since the 1990s. They never played four-day cricket. We know as a nation how to play 50-over cricket. Lately, there are a lot of fast bowlers coming through. The system is producing different types of cricketers. When I came first, spinners were dominating. Now it is the fast bowlers. I am really excited to see those talents,” he said.