'If Shakib is not fit, it is a desperate measure' - Hathurusingha

Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, Nidahas Trophy, Colombo March 15, 2018

Chandika Hathurusingha has not been shaken by Shakib Al Hasan's surprise re-entry in to Bangladesh's squad, but he does have a warning for his old team - or is it a little psychological agitation? The Sri Lanka coach said playing Shakib would be a great move, if he is fully fit. But if he is not, it becomes a sign of desperation.

Shakib had in fact been expected to recover from his finger injury weeks ago, with the allrounder himself suggesting he would be ready by the end of February. But although it had been announced he was also out of the Nidahas Trophy, Shakib has now arrived in Sri Lanka ahead of the virtual semi-final against the hosts.

If his sudden arrival is a psychological ploy on Bangladesh's part, Hathurusingha ventured his own gambit. And it comes one month after his suggesting his knowledge of Bangladesh had helped Sri Lanka beat them at home earlier this year.

"I think it's just fortunate for them that Shakib recovered before such an important game," Hathurusingha said. "But if he is not fit and hasn't trained, then I would have to agree with you [that it is desperation].

"I don't think there's too much these two teams can do as far as psychological games or trump cards, because we have played each other so much recently. The only thing is that I can think of is that if Shakib is half-fit, I think it's a desperate measure. If he's fit they really have an advantage, because he is the world's number one allrounder and we all know that he is a quality player."

Bangladesh's own stand-in coach, Courtney Walsh, said Shakib would be put through a fitness test - the same as any other player - before his availability for Friday's encounter is established. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, expect Bangladesh to field the strongest combination possible.

"We have nothing else to do because he is a very good player and we prepare as if he will play," Hathurusingha said. "I think it's an advantage to them because he will enable them play different combinations, whether it's an additional bowler or batsman."

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