'Happy to continue'
For most of his one and a half years on the job, Bangladesh bowling coach and former West Indies great Courtney Walsh has flown under the radar while Chandika Hathurusingha was running the show. Since the Sri Lankan's exit and the resultant vacuum in the head coach's position, however, the laidback legend has assumed an increasingly central role, culminating in his position as interim head coach in Bangladesh's against-the-odds run to the final in the T20I tri-nation Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka last month.
Even after the Nidahas Trophy ended, Walsh returned to Bangladesh after a short vacation and has been running camps and, crucially, watching the domestic cricket on offer in the Dhaka Premier League -- something Hathurusingha rarely did during his tenure. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is still looking for a full-time head coach, and Walsh said yesterday that he would not mind continuing in his interim role if needed.
"I know they are looking for a head coach but if I am asked, I will be happy to continue," said Walsh at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday during the Super League match between Sheikh Jamal and Khelaghar Samaj Kallyan Samity. He however stressed on the urgency of getting a coach as fast as possible.
"The sooner we can get the coach, the better. We can get the momentum continuing. My concern will be about getting the person now and get our planning going.My main concern is the success of the Bangladesh cricket team."
"It [Nidahas Trophy] was very good," Walsh said. "You couldn't have asked for more. We were disappointed with the final but it was a great achievement. Those things don't happen every day. We gave it our all. You could see how much it meant to our guys. I was happy with the commitment."
It may have been good but it was not all pretty, with there being disciplinary controversy surrounding Bangladesh's second win against Sri Lanka -- sealed with a penultimate-ball six from Mahmudullah Riyad -- which took Bangladesh to the final against India.
"There were two incidents. Which one are you talking about?" Walsh asked, referring presumably to the other incident that night of the broken dressing room window at the R Premadasa Stadium after skipper Shakib Al Hasan caused a halt in play by calling his players back because he disagreed with an umpiring decision. While defending his players' behaviour, he gave signs that he was not best pleased with their conduct on the night of March 16.
"These things happen in the heat of the moment. Obviously it had nothing to do with the players. It was an error by the umpires. Probably the crowd misunderstood what had happened. We thought we got a free-hit because of the no-ball. It wasn't warranted what we did."
Putting on his bowling coach's hat, he said that he was not yet fully satisfied about the pacers' progress.
"Not as much as I'd have liked. We've not been consistent. I saw the improvement in the camp before the ODI series. Improvement is possible with more practice, fitness and thought," said Walsh, adding that he will be around to see the Bangladesh Cricket League four-day competition.