Bangladesh have set their sights firmly on beating Australia in both upcoming Tests, but coach Chandika Hathurusingha says he won’t be content with merely beating teams on home soil.
Australia are due to arrive in Bangladesh later this month for the two-Test series – pending the outcome of Australian cricket’s ongoing pay dispute – their first visit to the subcontinent nation in 2006.
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Despite sitting ninth in the Test rankings, Bangladesh are hoping to build on a busy 12-month period - that’s seen them record maiden Test wins over England and Sri Lanka, and reach the Champions Trophy semi-finals - by not only recording a maiden red-ball series win over Australia, but whitewashing the No.3-ranked side in the process.
"Success will be to win away from home and beating teams above us," Hathurusingha 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.”
When the two-Test series gets underway, Bangladesh will likely have the assistance of former Australia leg-spinner Stuart MacGill as a spin-bowling mentor.
While the Bangladesh Cricket Board has not confirmed the appointment of MacGill, Hathurusingha said he would assist the team for at least three months.
“MacGill is here for three months to see, and if he is happy and the players are benefiting, it will be long-term,” Hathurusingha said.
“We didn’t have a spin bowling coach since Ruwan Kalpage left us.
“We need that help, as that’s a specialised area.”
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MacGill would join fellow Australian Mark O’Neill in Bangladesh’s coaching ranks, with the former Sheffield Shield player and renowned batting coach also hired on a short-term deal.
And while beating Australia is the immediate goal for Bangladesh, Hathurusingha says the true mark of Bangladesh’s progress will be winning away from home.
Their next away challenge will be against South Africa in September, where they will play two Tests and three one-day internationals.
“The challenge is to adapt to South African conditions, and then adjust the game plan,” he said.
“The first two weeks in South Africa before the first Test are very crucial."
After making the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy in June, he also hopes to continue that one-day momentum through the next two years ahead of the 2019 World Cup in the United Kingdom.
"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.
"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."
The first Test against Australia is scheduled to begin at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on August 27.
AUSTRALIA SQUAD: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Matthew Renshaw, Matthew Wade (plus one fast bowler TBC)
BANGLADESH PRELIMINARY SQUAD: Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Mahmudullah Riyad, Liton Kumar Das, Mominul Haque, Mehedi Hasan, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Subhashish Roy, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Rubel Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Sanjamul Islam, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Mohammad Saifuddin, Anamul Haque, Abul Hasan Raju, Al Amin Hossain, Nasir Hossain, Muktar Ali, Tanbir Haider, Saqlain Sajib, Shafiul Islam.
18 August Australia arrive
22-23 August Tour match,Fatullah
27-31 August First Test, Dhaka
4-8 September Second Test, Chittagong