Bangladesh National Team Head Coach Steve Rhodes attended a media conference at the Press Conference Area, SBNCS today. Here’s the transcript of the interview.
Thoughts on the upcoming Windies series?
Rhodes : We have got three day’s practice before we go. I think you all know your cricket. You have been watching the series against Sri Lanka. At the moment the wickets are bouncing and going through to potentially suit their bowlers. I think that the wickets are going to be very similar. The three we have got here we are going to try and repeat and incorporate what we might expect in the Caribbean with wickets being little bit greener, bouncier. As well some of drill work we will be doing in the net area. Just to hopefully get as ready as possible. I am sure the West Indian practice wickets will be like Bangladesh wickets.
Starting with Test series, help to make a plan.
Rhodes : Yes. Test matches are not complicated. To try to win a Test match you need to get a good start. It is not a rocket science. It is about getting out from the traps getting a good score or bowling the opposition out and dominate the game and try our best to not let the opposition back in the game.
Homework before coming to Dhaka?
Rhodes : Everything is new as you would expect. I don’t know too much about the players but I have been busily at home checking the players on the internet regularly. Seeing how they go, seeing how they play. Looking the highlights on the youtube. Getting to know some faces of the players and also the support team. All a bit of a rush to be honest but I am sure we are on the eve of going away for the Caribbean. To be honest that’s what I am looking forward to doing best which is help and support the team and try to improve them as cricketers.
Comfortable of hearing how good the opposition can be?
Rhodes : I think there is some reality in how you go about your preparation. For playing game you need to know what’s coming ahead of you. But you also need to know the individuals in the team. You need to know the players very quickly and get to know how they prepare best for a successful Test match.
Windies pacers doing well, specially Gabriel. Any plan for him?
Rhodes : He is playing well. You cannot take anything away from what Gabriel is doing. He has got a amazing haul of wickets in the last Test match. I know him quite well. We was a player I signed when I was with Worcestershire in the county. And he is bowling very well. We got to prepare for him and hence the reason we will be practicing the next three days. They have some good bowlers but we have got some good batters as well.
Good opportunity to be famous in international cricket as a coach?
Rhodes : It is a great opportunity for me personally. I have cooked my teeth in county cricket, I have been involved with England Lions programs and the England team when we came out to Bangladesh. I have done a long apprenticeship in that place and I am looking forward to the challenge of international coaching. Looking forward to challenge for working with elite international players and I think Bangladesh team have certainly got some excellent international players. But more important for me is that now I have become a Tiger. That might be the headline for you guys. But you know I have played cricket for a long time and have been coaching in cricket for a long time. Whatever team you are involved you put your 100 percent into winning. If that’s against England in a world cup game then fantastic. I think it’s now right for Steve Rhodes to become a Tiger.
Focus on Windies series?
Rhodes : The team should be ready to face some fast bowling on quick pitches. That’s certainly going to be in our preparation. But trying to keep things simple with our tactics and game plan. Cricket can get complicated but trying to keep it as simple as possible and making sure we do the basics well because if we do we will be really challenging and as you said before West Indies are in a good place at the moment. If that makes us the underdogs than fantastic. Let the underdog win.
Areas that need immediate impact from you?
Rhodes : That’s a quite a few questions for a guy who is about to take his first practice session. I need find my feet. I need to observe, look at the players. I have some ideas speaking to some of the other guys but I don’t want to have my judgment swayed in anyway by those people. I need to observe the situation. I certainly believe that if we can Bangladesh play as a team I think that will be really a strong point for Bangladesh cricket. We can be stronger playing as a team.
Feeling the hype?
Rhodes : I am really well aware of the passion and love for the game of cricket in Bangladesh. I understand the people. You are my type of people because we all like cricket. I was here with England and saw the passion and the supporters. So I know the expectation to do well for Bangladeshis. I will certainly giving my 100 percent to try and achieve results which will take us into higher position in the various competitions and the rankings.
Excited to coach a Test playing country?
Rhodes : I am delighted to get this opportunity. I drive to the ground this morning and see young kids playing cricket in the streets. I almost wanted to stop and get out and play with them because I know how much people love the game cricket in this country.
Concern of bowlers not in good shape?
Rhodes : I think there is no going away from the fact that losing Mustafizur for the first Test and may be the Test match series is a blow. He is a wonderful bowler. But the four quicks that are going have a wonderful opportunity. If they can put together spells of bowling and bowl in pairs or a partnership and equal to that of West Indians quicks, it is a wonderful challenge for them. I think the depth of fast bowling is something that we certainly we are trying to improve. Our spinners are world class they might not get a lot of purchase off the wicket. There certainly going to be some footholes there as the match happens and I am sure they will come in the game as well.
I spoke to the boys for 15 minutes. But I did that on purpose because one of the ways I want to coach is keeping things simple. Not too much information. The message you know was private. Something to do with that dressing room and its best to keep it that way. As far as tactics, we talked a little bit. In the next three days we are going to sit with respective coaches and discuss of what we need to do and where we need to be. But I am also picking brains of some of the guys. These are top cricketers. It is not about just coaches’ talent. We have got some very experience cricketers and formulate some very good plans.