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Hathurusinghe: Bangladesh's preparation for Ireland series 'not ideal'

Bad weather and a lack of access to the series venue has dogged the team ahead of the ODIs in Chelmsford

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Tamim Iqbal and Chandika Hathurusingha head to training, Mirpur, February 27, 2023

Tamim Iqbal and Chandika Hathurusinghe head to training  •  BCB

Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusinghe has termed his side's preparations for the ODI series against Ireland less than ideal, referring to his team's lack of practice time and access to the series venue, the Cloud County ground in Chelmsford.
The series begins on May 9, with all three matches to be played in Chelmsford, a venue chosen by Cricket Ireland keeping in mind the chances of wet weather back in Ireland. Bangladesh landed in the UK on May 1, but they could only enter the match venue on May 8, the eve of the first ODI, since Chelmsford was hosting a County Championship game between Essex and Surrey from May 4 to 7.
After arriving on May 1, Bangladesh had two training sessions in Cambridge before their practice match was washed out. They did a bit of indoor training at the Fenners facility before their May 7 session was called off due to a wet outfield. When asked about their preparation on Monday, Hathurusinghe didn't mince his words.
"It [preparation] is a unique situation," he said. "We are playing Ireland in England. So normally it doesn't happen too often. I can't blame anyone. It is the first time. If we knew this is the case, we wouldn't have agreed to this kind of schedule. This is not ideal preparation. I won't blame anyone. We will learn from this one."
Hathurusinghe suggested that since conditions in Chelmsford would be dissimilar to those that are likely to be on offer during the Asia Cup and World Cup later this year, the Ireland series would be important for Bangladesh only in terms of results.
"We are not going to play similar conditions in India," he said. "We will concentrate to winning in these conditions. How we can play. We are not looking too much into the World Cup, in these conditions."
Bangladesh's players and coaching staff got their first look at the Chelmsford pitch. "The wicket is very good. It is very hard underneath," Hathurusinghe said. "It has a tinge of green on top but hard underneath. It was under covers for the last few days because of the rain. There was also [the county] match here till yesterday."
Mehidy Hasan Miraz's emergence as a batting force, Hathurusinghe said, was helping Bangladesh achieve better balance as a team, giving them the option of extending their batting or bowling depending on conditions.
"He is a genuine batter with a Test and an ODI century," he said. "We can treat him as a genuine allrounder. We have another genuine allrounder in Shakib Al Hasan. We are very fortunate with our combination. Extra batter or bowler, we will decide tomorrow morning.
"Any coach would love to have this luxury. We are fortunate to have two genuine allrounders. Not many teams have that. We will definitely use it to our advantage."
He also looked forward to the likes of Towhid Hridoy, Rony Talukdar and Mrittunjoy Chowdhury gaining experience on their first tour with the senior team.
"It is a good opportunity for [Rony and Hridoy] to understand that international cricket is played in all kinds of conditions. I hope they can prove to themselves that they can do the same thing [on their first tour].
"[Mrittunjoy] would be a very effective bowler in these conditions. He has a really good wrist position. What I saw so far is encouraging."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84