Sports, Cricket

‘You don’t need to be best friends when representing country’

Published : 28 Feb 2023 08:35 PM | Updated : 28 Feb 2023 08:35 PM

Bangladesh appeared to be hardly bothered by the highly aggressive brand of cricket of England as they geared up to face off the Three Lions in the three-match ODI series.

The first match of the series starts on Wednesday from 12 PM and Bangladesh are looking to make a good start in a bid to take an early advantage.

"The number one target is to win the series," Bangladesh ODI captain Tamim Iqbal said. "We have won all of the last five or six series and so the confidence is there to beat England."

England are the only visitors to win a bilateral ODI series in Bangladesh since 2015. After the series victory in Bangladesh, England went strength to strength and set an aggressive template which worked for them in every part of the world. And it worked such nicely that they are now the defending champion in ODI and T20 World Cup.

Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, who will begin his second stint with the Tigers in this series, termed England's aggressive brand of cricket 'mind blowing', saying that they know how to the take wicket issue out of the equation.

"If we have to lift ourselves for (England), that's not the right motivation. We are playing for the national team; we always want to do well. They are the world champions," Hathurusingha said. "They have one team playing somewhere else, they have another team here. They have mind-blowing depth of talent. We want to see where we are at, and find out the gap that we have to bridge. If we do well in these conditions, it will give us confidence."

Bangladesh's slow and low wicket is tough to deal for any team of the world and even the team like India found them in wanting here, losing both of the ODI series they player here since 2015.

But it looked this time Bangladesh's domination at home surface will be severely challenged as England captain Jos Buttler said he would love to test themselves in the tough condition ahead of the World Cup, which will be held in India.

"Expecting slows and low wicket, expecting the condition that would be tough for us, which is what exactly we want. That's kind of challenge we want as a team to test ourselves in tough condition," Buttler said.

"This is the conditions that would probably the closest we can get to play in India... so it's a great challenge for us and we are very excited for the series."

Bangladesh however will rely on their strength and skill to beat England, Hathurusingha said.

"We are playing full strength. I don't think they have come with their full strength. Some of them are playing Test cricket," Hathurusingha said.

"I back our skills and strength. They have incredible strength. They have developed great depth in English cricket. They are the envy of every Test playing nation. I am hoping that by the end of my tenure, we can leave something behind."

Hathurusingha also was unfazed by the off the field issue as the strained relation between team's two most impactful players-Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal became the talk of the town. He said as long as it doesn't impact team's performance, the relation between them mattered little.

"I have been on the job for seven days. I have been in dressing rooms and I have been in teams where everyone doesn’t get along. Still, when they step out, they play as a team. When you play for your national team that's what you expect. You don't need to be best of friends to go out and have dinner. As long as it is not affecting, I don't see it as a problem," he said.

The two teams so far played 21 matches with Bangladesh winning just four. England won the rest of the 17 matches.