'More space with Chandika gone'
“The head coach leaving is less significant than big players leaving. None of our big players left, none of our young players have left but the coach has left.” With those words Bangladesh assistant coach Richard Halsall tried to remind the reporters yesterday that it is not the coach but the players who matter most in cricket, so there is no reason to be worried about the absence of Chandika Hathurusingha when the Tigers play the ODI tri-series against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, which will be followed by a two-match Test and two-match T20I series against Sri Lanka at home.
Halsall sang the praises of the players during his conversation with reporters in Mirpur and dismissed the notion put forward by some that it was Hathurusingha's strategies that brought success for Bangladesh in recent times.
“Talking of strategies, how did it go in South Africa, did the strategies work?,” questioned Halsall.
“Strategies are a small part for players. Good players win you cricket matches. If you have good players playing well, you win cricket matches. We have got lots of good players here but they did not play well in South Africa. They did play well in a couple of games in the Champions Trophy, specifically in the New Zealand game. So we have good players, we have to get them playing good cricket,” he went on.
Hathurusingha's long-time associate also believes that the former coach's absence will make players more responsible and give the senior players more space.
"I think Hathurusingha's principal reason for leaving was that he thought that he cannot add any more to the players at the moment. So I think that's a really good place for the players to be at, because Chandika not being here will give them more space to think and more responsibility.
"But Bangladesh is very lucky as they have got some excellent senior players like Shakib [Al Hasan], Mashrafe [Bin Mortaza], the two captains, and Mushfiqur [Rahim], Mahmudullah [Riyad] and Tamim [Iqbal]. These players now can be more involved. I think when you get older you become more responsible. That's exciting. I think it is another exciting step for that group of players," he observed.
Halsall also reminded how good the Tigers are in their own den.
“It's a great chance after having the disappointing tour of South Africa. We know how well we play at home. As an outsider I think that the players had a very exciting BPL. The camp here has a great feel to it at the moment. I am sure they cannot wait to get back to international cricket back in Dhaka. They love playing at the national stadium and I think you can see the excitement in the group of players,” he said.
Halsall also put the Tigers ahead of Sri Lanka in the coming series as he believes that Bangladesh is a settled side.