The last time England hosted a World Cup in 1999 Courtney Walsh was man-of-the-match against Bangladesh.
His world has changed in 20 years, making him now the pace bowling coach of a Bangladesh team that will start as favourites against his native West Indies in the ongoing campaign.
Walsh, who played his only game against Bangladesh in that World Cup, never doubted where his loyalty would be in Monday’s game at the home of Somerset County Club in Taunton.
‘Obviously I am from West Indies but I am with Bangladesh and I want Bangladesh to do well every team that we play against and that includes West Indies,’ Walsh told reporters in Taunton.
Since Walsh joined the Tigers as their pace bowling coach in September 2016, Bangladesh were on top of West Indies most of the time they played, winning seven of the nine one-day internationals between the two teams.
Walsh said it would be ‘nice’ to get another win and insisted that Bangladesh should not face any problem to get the desired result unless they became complacent or take it for granted.
‘I don’t think we will be looking at the team. We will be looking in the context of the game itself,’ said Walsh.
‘We will be seeing players who didn’t come to Bangladesh or play against us in the West Indies. They are probably full strength.
‘We have been playing consistently well against West Indies. [We should win] as long as we don’t take anything for granted or become complacent,’ said the Caribbean great.
West Indies came in the tournament with every resource they could muster, which gave their squad a formidable look with the likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, but Walsh said they should not intimidate Bangladesh.
‘We are looking at their game now. We are coming up with some ideas and plans,’ he said.
‘They [Gayle and Russell] are two dangerous players we have to try to restrict and get them out at the same time to have more control of the game. We will be focused on their team itself because they have very good players in their team as well. I am sure we can perform as a team against West Indies,’ he said.
If Bangladesh are to keep West Indies batsmen quiet they must do well in the pace bowling department, a department that Walsh looks after and the one which could not fulfill the expectations so far.
Mashrafee bin Murtaza and Mustafizur Rahman took some hammering in all three matches they got a chance to bowl and suffered apparently for their lack of pace.
Walsh, however, backed his charges to come good in the remaining matches of the tournament.
‘You have to have pace sometimes but for me, consistency, control and execution is more important,’ he said.
‘If you don’t have the 140-150kph, then you have to compensate for that. We have certainly been consistent, hitting the right areas and getting good variation. The guys have been working hard but you will have bad games here and there,’ he added.
Defending Mustafiz’s performance in the tournament, especially against England, Walsh said he did not think the left-arm pacer bowled too badly.
‘I just think that when he played against a side like England, every loose ball that he bowled went away for boundaries. When that happens, the figures don’t look good,’ he said of Mustafiz.
‘I personally thought he bowled well in this game, probably 80 per cent of the way that he bowled. If the 20 per cent that went for boundaries didn’t go, figures won’t have looked so bad,’ he added.
Walsh also defended under-fire captain Mashrafee, urging the fans to have patience with him.
‘We all know Mashrafee is a fighter. He had a slight niggle. As a captain he wants to lead from the front…obviously, the fans want win, win, win… we lost two games and one got rained out.
‘If we can string a few wins together, I think they will see the depth of the team. Mash has a couple of days off, so that will help. He’ll be in a better place,’ he said.
Walsh also did not see any problem for Bangladesh to play with four pacers considering the size of the ground as Rubel Hossain remained in the bench waiting for his chance.
‘We have to assess what we have here. If we are talking about four fast bowlers, I wouldn’t see any issues seeing Rubel coming into the attack,’ he said.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Cricket World Cup 2019