Unlike his predecessor Chandika Hathurusinghe, Bangladesh national team’s new head coach Steve Rhodes chose a different path to run his activities as the Englishman decided to travel to Ireland this week to watch Bangladesh A team in action.
Rhodes arrived in Bangladesh on Thursday after the completion of his successful debut series against West Indies having taken over the charge of squad just days before the series kicked off on June 7.
‘I am going to Ireland and will be watching one T20 game of Bangladesh A team,’ Rhodes told reporters at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport after the team’s return from the West Indies.
‘For me it is important to know the next crop of players. Already I have seen around 15 to 16 guys and hopefully will get to chance to observe couple of more cricketers in Ireland,’ he added.
During the helm of Chandika Hathurusinghe from 2014 to 2017, the Sri Lankan was never keen to attend any A team tour and hardly watched the players in action in the domestic competitions.
Rhodes’ decision of taking the hassle to travel to Ireland and that too after a grueling series in the West Indies, therefore, came as a surprise.
Rhodes failed to make his mark during the two-match Test series against the Caribbean side as Bangladesh suffered a humiliating defeat in both the matches.
The Tigers were bowled out for their lowest ever score of 43 in their very first innings under the new coach, making it as an embarrassing start for Rhodes who did not coach any international side previously.
However, the 54-year old found a different Bangladesh in the limited-over games, where the Tigers pulled off stunning performances to beat the hosts 2-1 in both ODI and Twenty20 series respectively.
Rhodes appreciated the overall performances of the Tigers during their tour of West Indies and praised both Mashrafee bin Murtaza and Sakib al Hasan for their ‘outstanding’ leadership qualities.
‘The Test series was tough. We took a bit of a beating. But I am very proud of the way the boys came back strongly,’ he said.
‘Winning the one-dayers was something that we fancied. It was great to have achieved that. The T20s came as a bit of a surprise,’ he said.
‘We really did play well in the second and third game. I am delighted that we have two series trophies. It was a great effort.
‘I think both captains in the ODIs and T20s handled the bowling magnificently. We have some quality spin bowlers, and actually the pace bowling proved to be more effective than the West Indies. I am very happy.
‘For the Test matches, we have to try to find couple of quicker and taller bowlers who can hit the wicket, which the West Indies bowlers did,’ he added.
Rhodes also said that the confidence of winning the series would help the team get success in the forthcoming Asia Cup, scheduled in UAE from September 15 to 28.
‘I think it would give confidence to the squad. There’s nothing better than winning. We have already played pretty well in ODIs previously, so we are optimistic. We don’t want to get too carried away, but certainly we are very pleased,’ he said.
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