Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha believes that the positive results over the past season will be the base on which the team will look to build their progress in the upcoming international season. The steady rise since the 2015 World Cup which culminated in the 2017 Champions Trophy semi-final appearance was the starting point for the upcoming season in which Bangladesh are going to face varied challenges over eight months, Hathurusingha said.
Even as they target a series win over Australia, the coach said winning abroad remains their main challenge, particularly in South Africa where Bangladesh haven't toured since 2008.
"Success will be to win away from home and beating teams above us," he said. "The progress for us is to maintain this success. We made it to the World Cup quarter-final and then Champions Trophy semi-final. We have started winning in the subcontinent. We have lot of areas to improve, so we are looking at consistency.
"We have made some progress in Test cricket. Now we have the game plan of winning in the subcontinent. We want to win the two Tests against Australia. The challenge is to adapt to South African conditions, and then adjust the game plan. The first two weeks in South Africa before the first Test are very crucial."
Their first call of duty will be against Australia at home and notwithstanding the uncertainty that lurks over the tour scheduled for later this month, Bangladesh have steadily raised their training intensity over the last four weeks. The new batting consultant, Mark O'Neill, for instance, is now regularly seen speaking to bowlers about their basics with the bat. Courtney Walsh has already held a bowling clinic with the fast bowlers while the BCB is close to hiring a spin-bowling coach.
The training camp that started in Mirpur on July 10 first focused on fitness before moving to the skills part of the game towards the end of the month. The group will move to Chittagong on Friday, where they have three training sessions before a three-day practice match at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, the venue for the second Test.
Hathurusingha said that developing a stronger unit for the next World Cup is their main goal, and by bringing in uncapped players into the training camp, they are leaving the door open for a rookie to stand up and be counted, after being drilled with proper fitness and training methods.
"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," Hathurusingha said. "All these guys have to get used to playing and training in high intensity.
"By training with the national players, they can see what the challenges ahead are to break into the team. 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."