Can Aussies handle Bangladeshi heat?
BANGLADESH are planning to hand Australia a pre-Ashes fright when the teams meet for a two-Test series later this month.
The build-up to the tour has been dominated by the illtempered and lengthy dispute between the Australian players union and the country’s governing body.
Chandika Hathurusingha, the Bangladesh coach, tells The
Cricket Paper that getting the Australian team on the plane in the first place is something approaching a triumph after they called off their most recent trip to the country in October 2015.
And despite the VIP treatment the Australian side are assured off the pitch, he’s out to ensure that his team make life as difficult as possible for them on it when the serious action gets underway.
“They haven’t been here for a long time after the previous tour was cancelled and now we’re just so glad they’ve sorted out their pay dispute and are coming here,” says Hathurusingha.
“It’s great for world cricket that the dispute has been sorted because no-one wants Australia not to be playing cricket.
“We were very keen for them to sort out that dispute and come over here.
“From our point of view, I’m very pleased with the progress we have made. It has been a gradual progress.
“We’ve focused on the ODIs first to make sure we were qualifying automatically for competitions like the World Cup and Champions Trophy, but we’ve also made big strides in Test cricket too.
“In the last one and a half years I think the players have got far more comfortable in the format and are competing, certainly at home.
“I think we showed that against England last year and now we’re going to be out to do the same against Australia.”
Bangladesh’s historic win against England – an 108-run victory in Dhaka back in October – was widely seen as evidence that the country was emerging as a genuine force in world cricket, particularly on home soil.
The conditions awaiting Australia will be a world away from those England will experience Down Under this winter. And the Bangladesh coach believes that home advantage could enable his side to spring another seismic shock.
“Since the England series, the confidence levels within the squad have been very high,” he says.
“We have shown as a bowling unit and as a batting unit that we can compete with big teams.
“The problem we still have is that we’re not playing big teams often, there are still huge gaps in our Test schedule.
“We know that we have the players to make it difficult for Australia and we showed against England that our spinners can cause top-class players a lot of problems on our own surfaces.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for us but I think we’re up to it. Australia obviously have a massive series coming up against England and there has been a lot going on with this pay dispute. I think it’s going to be a huge series for us.”
As England found to their cost, it’s ill-advised to take this Bangladesh side lightly. An under-cooked Australia will have to handle the heat in every sense.
We’ve done it! Bangladesh celebrate taking the final wicket of Steven Finn to beat England
Progress: Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha