Can Aussies han­dle Bangladeshi heat?

The Cricket Paper - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS - By Richard Ed­wards

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.

PIC­TURES: Getty Im­ages

We’ve done it! Bangladesh cel­e­brate tak­ing the fi­nal wicket of Steven Finn to beat Eng­land

Progress: Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathu­rus­ingha

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