Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha believes that reaching the final four of the Champions Trophy is the result of putting hard yards to perform well overseas. He has also added that they have the skills and confidence to pull off an upset against India in the second semi-final.
The Champions Trophy 2017 semifinal against India is being billed as the Bangladesh’s biggest match in their history as the team have made it to the final four of any ICC tournament for the first time. Before that, the team had reached the quarter-finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, where they lost to India in the quarterfinal – a defeat that still doesn’t go down well with the more passionate fans in Bangladesh. That World Cup though, marked a turning point for Bangladesh cricket as the team won home ODI series against India, South Africa, and Pakistan.
“It was a gradual improvement if you look at our last few years. I thought the World Cup was a big turning point for us, getting to the quarterfinal, beating England. Then we focused on our home series where we wanted to do well. In the last one year or so we have set our target to do well overseas. This is a journey, the semifinal is a big step forward,” reflected Hathurusingha ahead of the match against India.
“The biggest hurdle for us is playing away from home,” he added. “If you don’t play away from home with big teams, you don’t know where you’re at. Belief comes from playing against the big teams. If you look at our history, whenever we’ve played any team a few times, we’ve closed the gap. That’s the biggest thing if you speak of belief.”
Despite losing to India by 240 runs in the warm-up match at The Oval, Hathurasingha believes that they can still win and played down any talk of revenge, for the World Cup loss, while terming India as the title favourites.
“To be honest, not many people gave us chance to be here even,” he said of Bangladesh reaching the semifinals. “But India is a good team. If we can beat them, it will be a very good achievement for us. At the start of the tournament, I’d have said India were one of the favourites. For me, they are still the favourite team to win this competition. But as I said before, if we play to our potential, we can give any opposition a run for their money.”
“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 only thinking of competing and doing our best. In terms of playing fearless cricket, that’s what we have been doing. There’s no fear of ‘what if’ when we go into the middle.”