Birmingham: Bangladesh cricket team’s Sri Lankan coach Chandika Hathurusingha wants his players to treat their Champions Trophy semi-final against India as a “big opportunity to express themselves rather than a big match”.
The mass hysteria associated with Bangladesh’s semi-final qualification is something that Hathurusingha is well aware of and that’s the reason his outsider’s (not being a Bangladeshi) perspective can work as a calming influence for his team amidst the unimaginable media frenzy.
“It’s not a very big game but a very big opportunity. If we take it like that, it would be good for us. Any cricketer thrives on these opportunities. That’s why sportsmen love these games. That’s my message to all cricketers — junior or senior. Grab this opportunity with both hands,” he said after Bangladesh’s practice session at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground.
Whenever there’s a match against India, for Bangladesh’s media as well as fans, it’s something more than cricket.
Ask any Bangladeshi, and he/she would say Rohit Sharma being given not out in that 2015 World Cup quarter-final was a “smacks of conspiracy” because of India’s “hold in ICC”.
Even today, a Bangladeshi scribe asked one of the weirdest questions, saying, “Coach what do you make of umpire Kumar Dharmasena’s presence among the match official, which was a clear insinuation but Hathurusingha calmly tried to douse the fire.
“No comments on umpires’ appointments. What happened in the past is past,” he said.
Asked whether Bangladeshi players harbour a feeling of revenge, which was aggravated by those “Mauka Mauka” advertisements that gained eyeballs during the 2015 World Cup.
“There’s no feeling of revenge. It’s about playing a good game against a very good Indian team. A win would give us a lot of confidence. We are thinking about winning and giving our best,” insisted the coach.
He said that they have chalked elaborate plans for all the Indian batsmen which may work on a day but the ‘Men In Blue’ are good enough to jeopardise on another day.
Just like any seasoned coach would do, he played the “underdog card” time and again.
If Bangladesh beat India, will it be a surprise or a shock, he said: “Not many people gave us chance to reach even this far. But India is a good team, if we can beat them, it will be a very good achievement for us.”