Excerpts of press meet of Bangladesh National Cricket Team head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha today at Sher e Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
What was the focus of training camp?
Chandika Hathurusingha: The main focus was to get some fitness components into the system, because we were playing cricket non-stop from Afghanistan series. Boys didn’t have time to concentrate on their fitness. So we got a good break, so we started with fitness. Now main focus is on skills based on South Africa as well as Australia tour. Mark (Mark O Neill, new batting consultant) is doing the technical base work with the batters. He is working on the tail-enders as well in outdoor and indoor.
What is the agenda for the next series?
Hathurusingha: We have made some progress in Test cricket. Now we have the game-plan of winning in the sub-continent. We want to win the two Tests against Australia. We think in our condition we are really competitive. The challenge is to adapt with South African conditions, and then adjust the game-plan. The first two weeks in South Africa before the first Test, is very crucial.
What do you expect from the youngsters?
Hathurusingha: We are looking at the bigger picture so we have involved 20-odd players. Our main focus is up to 2019 World Cup, at least for me, as long my contract stays. All these guys have to get used to playing and training in high intensity. When they train in local cricket, the intensity level and quality of training is not that poor. By training with the national players, they can see what the challenges ahead are to break into the team.
Youngsters are breaking through the team, how do you see it?
Hathurusingha: It is about expanding our pool if we need, or someone puts his hand up and says pick me, I am good enough. We don’t want anyone to take their place for granted. And the same time everyone getting into same level, we have to utilize our players.
What are the roles of the different coaching stuffs?
Hathurusingha: Role defines itself. Champaka is fast bowling coach, MacGill is spin bowling coach. And this guy is a batting specialist. MacGill is here for three months to see, and if he is happy and the players are benefitting, it will be long-term. For most of the coaches, it is the same. We didn’t have a spin bowling coach since Kalpage left us. We need that help, as that’s a specialized area. So that’s their role. Working for me is easier because all these guys are good coaches and they know what they are doing. For me it’s all about giving them the freedom, opportunity and environment to work with the players.
You have spent quite a time in Bangladesh. How do you see the advantage of staying longer with team?
Hathurusingha: It comes down to the success of the job. If the hierarchy thinks I can improve the team further, I will be here. At the same time, working with the same players, it is also easy for them. You know what the demand is from the coaches. They get used to the style of coaching. As long as they are improving every day, that’s what matters. It is my job to improve the team.
How do you define success in the next season?
Hathurusingha: Winning away from home and beating teams above us. That’s what we need to do now. Every team is challenging. The progress for us is to maintain this success. We made it to the World Cup quarterfinal and then Champions Trophy semifinal. We have started winning in the sub-continent. We have to keep doing that. We have lot of areas to improve, so we are looking at consistency.
What is your plan in the training at Chittagong?
Hathurusingha: We have a high intensity session on the first day, a lighter session on the next day and then a medium session on Monday. Tuesday is rest day. We start match on Wednesday, which again is high intensity. We will train specifically for Australia when we come back to Dhaka.
What is the target against Australia and South Africa?
Hathurusingha: Obviously winning. We are very competitive here. South Africa is unknown place so we have to see how good that we can be. They are No 1 Test team in the world for obvious reasons. Here, our focus is to win.