“I like to play straight,” Bangladesh new head coach Steve Rhodes put forward the no-nonsense approach that he wants to bring to the national side.
Rhodes in his short term with the Bangladesh national side has already shown glimpses of going beyond the usual, an approach that his predecessors hadn’t really followed. In his off time with the national team – a period in which other coaches had preferred to take rest – he is set to go and follow the ‘A’ team
In order to gain first-hand knowledge of the cricketers in the ‘A’ team, Rhodes is headed to Ireland. In order to sketch a roadmap for the future, he has had several meetings in the last two days with the BCB.
The Bangladesh head coach spoke exclusively with Cricbuzz regarding his experience in his first assignment with a national team.
How has been your experience with the Bangladesh team so far?
It has been good. We had some ups and down but overall it was a fine performance by the boys (in the Caribbean), especially the way they responded in the ODIs and the T20Is after the failure in Test matches. To be honest, we need to have great character to make such a turnaround.
Do you believe everything changed after the arrival of Mashrafe bin Mortaza?
When you look at Bangladesh, Mashrafe is a fine captain. He leads by example. He is a warrior-like captain and all the guys follow him.
What about Shakib Al Hasan?
We have got Shakib as the captain in T20s and Test matches, and tactically he is a fantastic captain. All the guys respect him, the way he plays his cricket. But his cricketing brain, and particularly in T20s, is amazing. That is because he has played so much T20 cricket around the world, with so many franchises. He knows all the players and he knows the game (T20s). We are very lucky to have two very good captains.
Do you feel Shakib showed a lot more clarity in T20s as a captain when compared to Tests?
Cricket is a lot about momentum. Even for the best captain in the world when the momentum is down, it is very difficult to turn it around. When we lost that toss (in the first Test) and we were all out for 44, it meant that momentum was totally against us. Like I said, the best captain in the world wouldn’t be able to turn that. I think it was not down to Shakib’s captaincy. He is a very good captain. If we had a good start, if we had won the toss in that Test, we might have had some momentum. He is a quality captain and a quality cricketer, so is Mashrafe. So Bangladesh must be very grateful that we have got two very good captains.
What’s your motive to go to Ireland?
It was nice that I had the opportunity to see the members of the Test team, ODI team and the T20 team. So I have now managed to look at around 20 to 22 players. When I go to Ireland, although I will see some of our players that I have looked at previously, for me it is important to know the next crop of players. Already I have seen a couple of them and hopefully, will get the chance to observe a few more in Ireland. I hope to spend some time with the ‘A’ team coach Simon Helmut, because if we want to have plenty of depth in Bangladesh cricket, the ‘A’ team needs to do well and they have done very well so far. I am very pleased and looking forward to catching up with them and see them play.
Mominul Haque scored a blazing knock in the 50-over format (182) for Bangladesh ‘A’ against Ireland ‘A’. Is he in the scheme of things for limited overs cricket?
Mominul scored a fantastic 182 and I think that’s good news for him personally and for Bangladesh because he is a quality cricketer and he has shown that he can play one-day games and that is a good sign for the future.
Will Liton Das be looked at as an option to open with Tamim Iqbal in ODIs?
He was playing well throughout the (Windies) tour but he didn’t quite go on in lots of games after getting some starts. To watch him play in that final game (T20I) was amazing because when it really mattered, he played a very powerful game with good control and finesse. He showed that he is definitely a player who enjoys the big stage of a big game. To go into that match and get that man of the match award was a special thing for him and Bangladesh. So hopefully, it is a good sign for the future.
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