Bangladesh head coach backs decision on SL tour
2020-10-02 at 19:28
Russell Domingo, Bangladesh’s head coach, feels that it would have been mentally draining for his side to abide by a 14-day mandatory quarantine ahead of the Sri Lanka tour.
The South African welcomed the move taken by the Bangladesh Cricket Board of postponing the tour that comprised of three Tests, with the quarantine requirements limiting the players’ movement to just their hotel rooms.
“Obviously I am very disappointed that the Sri Lanka tour is not taking place. I think the BCB were correct in refraining from going under the stipulations that were placed upon the team,” Domingo said via a zoom meeting on Friday (October 2). “It would have been very difficult for us to spend that amount of time locked up in our room without preparation and played a Test match in ten days’ time. I am fully supporting the decision,” he said.
“Couple of our players have been in isolation for five or six days. They said it was extremely difficult, in terms of the mental aspect. Forget about the physical side. For me personally to spend 14 days locked up in a small hotel room would be very challenging. I suppose there were some discussions among some players but ultimately it’s a decision the board made. As disappointed as they were to not play the series, the players appreciate the board’s decision.
“They also understand that the mental issues of being in a locked up, enclosed area for 14 days could pose some serious challenges. Some guys may be able to deal with it but one or two struggling with it, is an issue. Everybody’s feeling has to be considered when making these decisions, and the board made the right decision,” he said.
Domingo also recognised that discussions among players and support staff is required to overcome the mental stress that the lockdown is expected to bring, given that the BCB already had a seven-day residential camp inside a bio-bubble before a three-day break.
“I think you must have a constant discussion with the players. We are trying to encourage a culture in the team where players are comfortable coming forward and discussing whatever issues they’ve got. I think we are still trying to get to that place. Some guys will hold it in a little bit more, some guys will be more expressive about it. The coaches have been in a bubble now for about 28 days. We haven’t gone anywhere yet. We haven’t just gone to the cricket practice and back (to the hotel). We haven’t seen our families. We know it is tough but that’s why it is important to have people around you, with whom you can discuss things with.
“At the moment everybody is fine. I don’t see any issues. If there are, we will provide the players with as much support as we can. We do know everybody is different and there are various challenges that people face. So far so good. I have loved my first month here. It is good to be back at cricket. It would be nice if we could play some serious games but it is what it is. We just have to make the best of a bad situation at the moment. Everyone is fine, happy. Missing families, obviously. But we also have to do a job, and provide for our families. So we have to bite the bullet,” he added.
Ever since March, there has been no competitive cricket in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Domingo, however, thinks that Bangladesh need to play domestic cricket before stepping towards international cricket, although nothing is finalised regarding those plans.
“However, it [not playing against Sri Lanka] does leave us short of international cricket. It has now been nearly seven months since the team played together and after the last Zimbabwe series, we seemed to be making some good strides. BCB are doing some domestic leagues. There have been one or two invites from outside nations maybe to play cricket in December. Nothing has been confirmed as yet. I think rightfully domestic cricket needs to be going. As a coach I prefer guys play domestic cricket first and then go into international cricket. So if there’s any form of domestic cricket, that’d be first-class,” he said.
“Going from a friendly to international cricket is a big step up. So it is important that we play domestic cricket, which makes the transition easier. It will benefit the national side immensely. There’s no substitute in playing games. We need to play as many games as we possibly can before we get back to international cricket. We have to find game time of high quality before international cricket is very important for us,” he said, adding that their biggest challenge is to keep the cricketers motivated.
“The big challenge is now to take that practice and preparation and build it into game time. There’s a big difference between training and actually spending six or seven hours in the field and having to bowl again. We need to make sure that we gradually bring them back to international cricket. If we can have some warm-up games like we do here, and then step it up in domestic games, I am sure these guys will be ready in three to four weeks, for international cricket.
“I think there’s always going to be that challenge. That’s why we have to be innovative with our training. We have a big group of guys at the moment. We are trying to have some games, because if we do the same thing over and over without any particular goal, it is going to be very challenging,” he note.
According to the South African while there is very little chance to work on technical things when there is a game round the corner, the downtime helped him work with Shadman Islam and Nazmul Hossain while pace bowling coach Ottis Gibson had his time with Mustafizur Rahman.
“It does allow us to work on the players’ skills. We can maybe make one or two technical changes or discuss things with guys that we won’t always have the time when leading into games. There’s a benefit of not having a game coming up in a week or two. We can actually make an impact on the players’ technique. Still, we always like to train with some sort of end goal in mind.
“We are trying to change Shadman’s stance a little bit. His backswing. He used to stand upright in his stance. We are trying to get his bat down on the ground which will allow him to swing the bat up and get a little bit more force when he hits the ball. This type of change is difficult when you have a match in a week’s time. It is a change that needs couple of weeks or maybe a month to get accustomed to. Ottis is trying to get Mustafizur to shape the ball back in the right-hander. Hopefully, we can see some of that tomorrow when he is bowling with the new ball. The way Shanto plays spin, he gets his head falling over. We are trying to get his head up a little bit more,” added Domingo.