‘Nobody has any clue’ – Hathurusinghe wants data on USA pitches ahead of T20 World Cup


With the 2024 T20 World Cup to be played in the USA and the Caribbean in June, Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusinghe is trying to gather intel about the pitches there, especially in Dallas. They will also be playing in New York and Kingstown (in St Vincent, where they played a Test in 2014) in the first round.

Part of Bangladesh’s preparation has involved readying more batting-friendly surfaces in Sylhet during the ongoing T20I series against Sri Lanka.

Hathurusinghe said that since the New York venue will have drop-in pitches that are prepared in Adelaide, they should expect conditions they have faced before. But there isn’t much that they know about the venues in Dallas and Kingstown.

“We are looking at a combination for the World Cup, [especially] how the individuals are fitting in and understanding the game plan and be comfortable with that,” Hathurusinghe said. “We wanted to play on good wickets here. We don’t know about the wickets in America. We play two important games in America. Nobody has any clue [about the pitches]. There’s not much data behind it.

“From what I understand, New York will have a drop-in wicket from Adelaide. They will hopefully be similar to Australian pitches. There’s little feedback from NSW Cricket about Dallas. Washington Freedom played there. I spoke to their GM when I was in Australia. Our recollection from St Vincent [Kingstown] is the last Test we played there. We are preparing as much as we can for these unknown factors.”

Hathurusinghe said that the plan, with just under three months to go for the tournament, is to ensure that their bowlers can adapt to the pitches, which are expected to be batting-friendly.

In the ongoing T20I series in Sylhet, Sri Lanka breached the 200-run mark in the first T20I – as did Bangladesh in the chase – but Taskin Ahmed & Co. pulled things back in the second game, with Bangladesh convincingly chasing down 166.

“He had a very good time in the BPL. He came here with the same confidence to bowl in these matches. It was pleasing to see him adjust quickly for the second game. He has grown into the leading bowler with Taskin and Fizz [Mustafizur]”

Chandika Hathurusinghe on Shoriful Islam

“We know what we can do. We are continually working on [death bowling]. We are playing on different kinds of pitches now. There’s more grass and carry,” Hathurusinghe said. “We wanted to play on wickets that are conducive for high scoring, to get us to understand what areas we need to improve in bowling.

“It is a mindset shift as well. When you are bowling on wickets where 150 is a winning score, you are expected to bowl in a certain way. Eight runs an over [in Sylhet] is very good. You saw the other day that 160 isn’t a par score.

“We got to 200 [in the first T20I] even after losing four wickets in the powerplay. We need to understand those factors as well. I am pleased with how our bowling unit is shaping up as well.”

Shoriful Islam impressed Hathurusinghe with his improvement in the second game after going for 47 runs in the first. “He had a very good time in the BPL. He came here with the same confidence to bowl in these matches. He however didn’t get to swing in the ball because of the dew in the first game.

“It was pleasing to see him adjust quickly for the second game. He has grown into the leading bowler with Taskin and Fizz [Mustafizur Rahman]. There’s another one we can bank on.”

Bangladesh’s batting has also looked in good shape in the first two T20Is, although Soumya Sarkar continues to frustrate everyone by getting out after getting starts. It has been the story of his international career, although Hathurusinghe was happy with his crucial 22-ball 26 in the second game. The Sarkar-Litton Das opening pairing, incidentally, is Bangladesh’s 16th in T20Is since the start of 2022.

“We were 63 [68] for no loss. You don’t see how many hundreds you made in T20s. As long as they are playing for the team, that’s what we want,” Hathurusinghe said. “[Sarkar] is contributing at the moment. He got [Kusal] Mendis’ wicket. He was crucial for them in both games. [Litton and Sarkar] put their hands up after the first game, [saying that] their approach was wrong. They owned it, and went and played really good cricket.

“It is not about this pair. It is about correcting what wrong we have done in the past. If something was working, I don’t think they would make so many changes. We love to see continuity. Their approach was very good.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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