South African Richard Pybus arrived in Dhaka on Tuesday for a shock reunion with his former charges after he took the pole position to replace Sri Lankan Chandika Hathurusinghe as the head coach of Bangladesh national cricket team.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board invited Pybus to face an interview today in its first significant attempt to replace Hathurusinghe, who had resigned in October during the tour of South Africa and did not return.
The BCB had prepared a short-list for replacement, which also included former West Indies coach Phil Simmons. It is, however, not clear if Simmons will face the interview for the position.
Bangladesh is facing a race against time to appoint the new coach before the tri-series one-day international tournament in December-January involving the hosts, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.
They are also scheduled to play a Test series against Sri Lanka in January-February.
The BCB had earlier intended to appoint an interim local coach for the tri-series in Sri Lanka but backtracked from the plan following some controversies over its preferred candidate Khaled Mahmud.
Mahmud, who is also a BCB director, ignited a conflict of interest debate, prompting the Board to look for a permanent coach sooner than later.
A short-list was finalised in a meeting of BCB president Nazmul Hasan and the members of the technical committee during a Bangladesh Premier League match in Mirpur this week.
‘We already started our works to find a new coach,’ BCB spokesman Jalal Yunus told reporters on Tuesday. ‘We have short-listed a few ones in this process. We want them to face an interview and after that, the matter will be discussed at the Board meeting before we permanently appoint someone.
‘Richard Pybus will come today [Tuesday] to face the interview. He will sit for an interview with the board officials tomorrow [today] at 11am. We will talk with him and we’ll also talk with one or two others if they give us time,’ he said.
Jalal said they will not disclose the name of the other candidates until a date before their arrival for an interview as it may undermine their current position.
It was learnt that the technical committee members, who comprised some former national players, had asked for a tough disciplinarian in the mould of Hathurusinghe, who got success by strongly imposing his authority on the players.
Pybus had success with Pakistan team following similar tactics, though he failed to apply the same formula on the Bangladesh team during his short stint in 2012.
He was appointed in May after Australian Stuart Law had resigned and worked until September. He did not return Bangladesh after the Tigers were eliminated from the first round of ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
Following his resignation, Pybus had complained about lack of support from the then BCB, headed by AHM Mustafa Kamal, the predecessor of incumbent BCB president Nazmul.
In an interview with cricket’s leading website Cricinfo, Pybus said he had turned the offer twice before accepting the job only to find intervention from BCB officials in his works.
Pybus had said that the BCB wanted him to spend him 320 days a year with the Bangladesh team, a commitment he was not ready to make because of family reasons.
Pybus insisted that he had asked for the mandate of authority and responsibility to run the national side without interference from board directors and was given that assurance by board president Kamal, but in reality that was never the case.
‘My position was undermined consistently by interference from the board, some of whom were not only obstructive but seemed to be completely ignorant of cricket,’ Cricinfo quoted Pybus as saying in the interview.
He also accused the BCB of non-cooperation about even supplying healthy sandwiches for the players after training as a replacement for fried egg sandwiches.
Pybus might be encouraged to see the BCB providing all authorities with its immediate past coach Hathurusinghe that even led them to change the selection structure.
‘It is obviously a difficult thing to find a high-profile coach,’ BCB spokesperson Jalal explained the reason for them to turn back to a coach who did not have a very happy ending with Bangladesh team during his first stint.
‘We want a kind of coach who will take the job as a challenge and work for the development of Bangladesh cricket which has established itself globally,’ he said.
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