Bangladesh coach targets World Cup second round
Bangladesh's new head coach Chandika Hathurusingha will put his focus on establishing the best possible environment around the team to ensure better results. Hathurusingha, the former Sri Lanka batsman, also believes the team can go past the first round of the 2015 World Cup.
Bangladesh have only played 20 international matches in Australia and New Zealand, the last of which was in January 2010. They toured Australia in 2003 and 2008, and have never won a match in the two countries. Hathurusingha however said that with some of the Bangladesh players approaching their peak in terms of age and fitness, he is looking forward to a place in the World Cup's second round.
"The main thing is we get the right combination and be prepared to play in Australia and New Zealand," Hathurusingha said. "It is going to be a challenge for sub-continent teams with the conditions. So if we prepare intelligently enough or specifically enough, we will go far. I am happy to be in the second round, that's my first goal.
"The plan for us is to build on what we have," he said. "I haven't spoken to the team yet. I haven't seen them playing for last four years because we hardly get to see them in Australia. I know the capabilities of some of the players when I was with Sri Lanka before 2010. Some of the players are coming into their peak."
Hathurusingha was appointed on May 19 for a two-year tenure, and although the agreement states that he would start working from July 1, he has come to Bangladesh earlier due to the ODI series against India next week. He arrived in Dhaka on Monday night, and on Tuesday, he visited the Shere Bangla National Stadium to meet players and officials for the first time.
"As long as we improve as a team and if we train properly and keep the right environment for players to develop as individuals as well as players, I think the results will take care of themselves," Hathurusingha said. "My job is to get that environment and resources, and for everyone in the office and involved with the team to work at the best of their ability so that the team gets the best support.
"If we do that, as I have seen with the Sri Lanka team and in my last four years in Australia, teams do well most of the time when the best system is in place. That's what I am focusing on."
Hathurusingha replaced Shane Jurgensen who resigned on April 28 after being in charge for just over a year. Jurgensen was appointed till after the World Cup but his early departure means that the new coach has eight months to prepare the team for a massive challenge.
One of his initial focuses is to get everything in place off the field, for which he has already discussed with his new employers. "It is something that I have spoken to them when they offered me [the job]," Hathurusingha said. "They are prepared to give us all the support. I think the current board really wants to make change, and that's what they are doing. Me being here is a result of that."
Hathurusingha will begin work straightaway as the India ODIs are only days away. Trainer Mario Villavarayan and bowling coach Heath Streak have also arrived prior to Hathurusingha. The BCB are still on the lookout to hire fielding and spin bowling coaches but that is likely to happen with the West Indies tour, scheduled for August-September this year, in mind.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84