Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha said this is the best time to beat South Africa at their backyard as the Proteas are going through a mini-transition following the appointment of a new coach in Ottis Gibson and new Test captain in Faf du Plessis.
On top of that, the Proteas are also reeling from some crucial injuries, especially to their fast bowlers.
“South Africa (are) a big challenge for any team. Arguably they are one of the best Test teams in the last 10 years. It’s going to be challenge. But that’s what you play cricket for. It’s an opportunity for us to see where we are at. So we take that challenge and we embrace the challenge,” Hathurusingha told the media during the pre-Test match press conference at Senwes Park Wednesday.
“However if you want to play South Africa then I think this is the best time. They got a new coach, a few injuries. This is a good time to play against them.
“They got some new players coming in. But at the same time their nucleus (are) still playing, Hashim Amla and Du Plessis, and also Dean Elgar are pretty good players in the last few years. As some of their new players are coming in, it’s a good opportunity for us to getting to their middle-order early. That’s one thing we are trying to exploit,” he said.
Bangladesh relied heavily on their spinners at home during their victories against England and Australia recently.
But it is time for the pacers to step up and show their aggression and accuracy in fast-bowling friendly conditions like South Africa’s.
“When we play Test cricket back home, probably we use two pacers. So this is an opportunity for probably different conditions to look at in South Africa. So yes, they need to step up and help in this condition. You always try to win. As Mushfiqur [Rahim], said we need to play well in every session. If we can continue to play good cricket for long period, then winning is not out of the card,” he explained.
The Tigers head coach declared before the Australia Tests that Bangladesh can win the series 2-0 and that they will only play for that particular score.
The series eventually ended 1-1.
But before the South Africa Tests, the coach sounded a cautious tone and expressed hope of bringing good result.
“It was not a brave statement before the Australia series, it was a confident one to win the Test series back home. We have to play the series without Shakib [al Hasan], it’s a bigger challenge for any team to replace a player like Shakib. Especially with that kind of all-rounder you can tactically get a bit savvy. But here we are a little bit limited. Still we think we can give a good account or ourselves here,” the 49-year old said.
Shakib was rested for the South Africa Tests and as for his replacement, Hathurusingha informed that a decision will only be taken before the match.
“We are looking either at a batsman or a bowler to replace him. That’s the challenge we have. So we will find [Thursday] about the XI. I think Shakib is scoring a lot of runs lately, probably the highest run-scorer in Test cricket. That’s why we need to watch at this stage,” he concluded.