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Hathurusinghe makes Tigers believe

38Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusinghe speaks at a press conference after a training session at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Monday. — AFP photo
When Chandika Hathurusinghe says something he says it with conviction. In his short tenure as Bangladesh coach he floated some unconventional ideas, fought for them hard and successfully executed them in the field.
He convinced selectors to pick Jubair Hossain in Tests and the leg-spinner delivered with the limited opportunities that he got. In limited over cricket, it was his idea to allow Soumya Sarkar an absolute freedom at the top of the order and the left-hander continued to thrive on.
He also supported the move of picking four pacers in one-dayers something that was hailed as revolutionary thinking. It changed the concept of loading the team with spinners and then trying to put the opponents in a spin without bothering about their strengths.
His success as an alternative thinker finally earned him the trust from his charges and some other stakeholders of Bangladesh cricket, including the fans, administrators and media.
He made them all believing, which is pivotal for every successful team. Before the Test series against mighty South Africa, by far the best Test team in the world, this is the most positive thing for Bangladesh team.
Hathursinghe insisted Bangladesh’s bowling have the right kind of balance to take 20 wickets of South Africa and one cannot simply rule out him because he hardly says things he does not believe.
The inclusion of left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman in Test squad and the variation of Jubair gave him the belief that Bangladesh can also turn the things around in Test just like the one-dayers.
The two rookies convinced him that the Tigers have finally got the right kind of balance and that they can stick to their guns to press for a result irrespective of conditions.
‘I cannot compare what happened before. Now we got a balanced attack that can take 20 wickets. We will be consistent in Test cricket as well,’ Hathurusinghe said ahead of first Test in Chittagong.
‘Having a left-armer in any bowling attack is a different thing,’ he said of Mustafiz, who can make his debut today. ‘It takes the condition out of the equation because he gives a different angle.
‘It is an advantage for any team. Whenever we can get him into the Test team, it is an advantage,’ he said, adding that if Jubair can complement the 19-year old bowler, they can together change the face of Tigers in Test match level.
‘He will have a bigger impact in Bangladesh cricket going forward. No doubt about it,’ Hathurusinghe said of Jubair. ‘He is a wicket-taker, so we will use him as an attacking weapon against any team in Test cricket.’
With Mustafiz and Jubair joining already established bowlers Sakib al Hasan and Taijul Islam, Hathurusinghe sounded highly confident about Bangladesh’s bowling attack, which was never considered as their strength in the past.
‘We have Sakib, our highest wicket-taker, we have Taijul Islam who has been very successful with SG balls. We get Mustafizur and Rubel [Hossain], and [Mohammad] Shahid is a workhorse. I am much confident from before with this bowling attack.’
Hardly anyone has seen a Bangladesh coach so much confident before a Test match.