Wednesday, January 16, 2019 | ePaper

Rhodes to focus on enhancing Bangladesh's style of play

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Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes has insisted that he isn't looking to change Bangladesh's brand of cricket ahead of their two-match Test series against Zimbabwe. Rhodes, who was appointed in June as Chandika Hathurusingha's replacement, will be in charge of his second Test series as Bangladesh's coach following the drubbing in West Indies.
Even though Bangladesh made a remarkable turnaround in the shorter formats, there are questions to be answered in the Test arena. Often in such cases, a foreign coach tries to stamp his authority by forcing some changes in the style of play but Rhodes is focussed on making improvements rather than making wholesale changes.
"Bangladesh have a certain style of playing, and it is not for me to change it. It is for me to work with it, and develop other areas in which we can still improve. I am not a coach coming here to change the things we do really well. I want to enhance that even more," Rhodes told reporters after a practice session on Thursday (November 1).
"We have got guys who can get centuries. Mominul scored a century in each innings just three Tests ago. We know that people can score runs. We know our spinners are excellent and can cause devastation in the opposition team. We also know that we can bowl better and find taller, quicker, hit-the-deck bowlers," he noted.
Even though Bangladesh are playing at home in familiar conditions, Rhodes pointed out that the immediate focus is on improving the players on a technical level so that they can fare well overseas. "There's a slight change, it is what we are focusing on," he said. "Also, the ability of our batsmen to do well away from home, which might mean some slight tactical and technical tinkers that will make batting easier in those conditions.
"We have a lot of work to do to be a good Test team. We have learned a way of playing in Bangladesh that makes us compete with the best. When we go away from home, we need to learn how to bowl in those wickets. We need to produce some bowlers who can bowl well on those wickets. Most importantly, we are working on batters for conditions like New Zealand, England, West Indies, South Africa and Australia. I understand there's a lot of work to do.
"Because the home wicket is little bit more docile compared to the bounce and seam of Antigua, means it is sometimes difficult to put it into place. There's a certain way of playing on these wickets that we do very, very well. Trying to bring in slight changes to cope with the bounce and seam, whilst we play on these sort of wickets is often quite difficult to do," he added.
Rhodes is also looking forward to working with new skipper Mahmudullah, who will be leading Bangladesh in the absence of regular Test skipper Shakib-Al-Hasan. "So far, I found Shakib a brilliant captain to work with, the best tactical captain I have worked with. He has some great strengths that I am learning from," said Rhodes.
"Mash[ Mashrafee] is a wonderful guy to work with. He is different to Shakib, he plays with a lot of passion and pride. Not that Shakib doesn't but Mash shows it. He expects a lot from the players and gets a lot out of them as well. He is the warrior and leading the team. Now Riyad (Mahmudullah) is a new captain and my third one. We had a short meeting regarding ideas on selection. Hopefully the selectors will go with us but it was quick. I have another meeting with Riyad and the analyst."
The 54-year-old also reiterated that Mushfiqur Rahim will keep wickets after losing his gloves following some sloppy work in Sri Lanka earlier this year. "Mushy will keep wickets," Rhodes confirmed. "That's the plan at the moment unless there's a problem. We are lucky to have Liton and Mithun in the squad. We have got options.
"In my eyes at the moment, I have been very pleased with what Mushy has done behind the stumps. Some of the ODI stuff has made me very happy. Mushy is a wonderfully gifted cricketer, very experienced and a real battler. You need someone with a bit of niggle behind the stumps." You are right in the thick of the action. I think Mushy is the ideal bloke for it."

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