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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Bangladesh focused on victory – not revenge – against Chandika Hathurusinghe's Sri Lanka

Tamim Iqbal says his team still have plenty affection for former coach, now with rivals, who they face in Asian Cup opener

Chandika Hathurusinghe, left, was Bangladesh coach from 2014 to 2017 before taking over the reins at Sri Lanka. AFP
Chandika Hathurusinghe, left, was Bangladesh coach from 2014 to 2017 before taking over the reins at Sri Lanka. AFP

Bangladesh will not be driven by any desire for revenge when they come up against their former coach Chandika Hathurusinghe in the Asia Cup opener in Dubai on Saturday.

According to Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal, the team only feel affection towards their ex-coach, who is now in charge of Sri Lanka.

The tournament’s opening fixture pits his new side against his most recently employers, as Sri Lanka open their account against Bangladesh at the Dubai International Stadium.

Hathurusinghe left his role with Bangladesh amid some acrimony at the end of 2017, and was then placed in charge of Sri Lanka, who had previously represented as a player.

He was reportedly critical of the attitude of a number of Bangladesh’s senior players. Tamim, though, says the players retain a good relationship with him.

“We have shared some fantastic moments with him,” Tamim said. “When you have had a coach who has worked with you for four or five years, there will be some ups and downs.

“But whatever he has done for the team and for the country has been fantastic. No-one can take that away from him, and we all have a very good relationship with him.

“Yes, we will definitely want to beat our ex-coach, but only in a very good mentality way – not in a way of revenge.

“If I just think about beating him, that is not going to work. We have to concentrate on playing really good cricket.”

Hathurusinghe is also returning to the UAE for the first time in a competitive capacity since he vacated the role of UAE coach 12 years ago.

The former all-rounder launched his coaching career when he was placed in charge of the national team in 2006. Although his stint with the national team was only brief, he was highly-regarded within the game here.

Dhananjaya de Silva, the Sri Lanka batsman, believes his side will benefit from Hathurusinghe’s in-depth knowledge of both the UAE conditions, and especially that of the Bangladesh players.

“That is a strong point for us,” De Silva said at nets at the ICC Academy in Dubai on Wednesday. “He knows the weak points in their batting and bowling, so I think we have a good opportunity to pick up some plus points.”

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Sri Lanka’s side are shorn of many of the greats of their recent past. Although Angelo Mathews remains as captain, and Lasith Malinga is back to lead the bowling attack, the team lost another experienced player this week when a finger injury ruled Dinesh Chandimal out of the tournament.

De Silva, though, is confident their young team can be a threat at the competition, and said they were given a pep-talk by Kumar Sangakkara before they left for UAE.

“It is a good challenge,” De Silva said, before suggesting Malinga’s recall gives them a “50 per cent” greater chance of success.

“We have a very young team, we are looking forward to playing our natural games. Kumar Sangakkara came to us in the past week and talked to us about his game, and how to adapt to the situation.

“This bunch have been together for two years and I think we have a good team now.”

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