No Riyad in Zim T20s was not the right decision: Domingo

Russell Domingo. Photo: Firoz Ahmed File

Bangladesh head coach, Russell Domingo, said that he considered not taking Mahmudullah Riyad initially for the Zimbabwe T20s was the wrong thing to do.

The coach, who has been excluded from T20 plans altogether now with Sridharan Sriram in charge of the Bangladesh team in the Asia Cup, said that he was surprised at Riyad having made himself available for the last T20I in which Mosaddek Hossain was the captain.

"I definitely feel there is a lot of talk, speculation and criticism around the team that gets into the media which sometimes can be avoided. I feel the players are trying their best."

— Russell Domingo, Bangladesh national cricket team coach

Mahmudullah lost his T20 captaincy before the tour of Zimbabwe after poor performances in West Indies. The player was also rested for the T20 tour of Zimbabwe and then brought into the side for the final T20I to replace the then injured skipper Nurul Hasan Sohan.

"Regarding Mahmudullah, I don't think it was the right decision to not take him to the T20s in Zimbabwe in the first place," Domingo said in an interview with The Daily Star today.

"I know the selectors picked five openers which I think was not a good decision. We ended up playing some top-order batters in the middle order which did not help us. I definitely would have preferred Riyad in the T20 squad for Zimbabwe.

"Then he got brought back into the T20 squad for the last game, considering how his selection went before that, I was surprised he made himself available for that to be honest. I would not have blamed him if he made himself unavailable for that last game. I don't know whether it was right or wrong decision that he was picked for the last game."

There had been rumours that Domingo had problems with the senior members of the team but Domingo was not too worried. "Maybe you ask them, they might say something. From my side, relationships with most players are probably in a better space now than it has ever been before. There have been ups and downs, there is no doubt about that but all relationships have that," he said.

The coach, who will now be focusing on the ODI and Test formats, said that when criticisms of players, team management or the board get into the media, it becomes an issue while also taking about the players' 'fear of getting dropped' playing a part in not being able to play fearless cricket. Bangladesh's campaign in the 2020 T20 World Cup was further derailed following criticism from board high-ups after the loss to Scotland in the first round at UAE.

"I have always been a coach that tries to criticize the players behind closed doors and praise them in public. I definitely feel there is a lot of talk, speculation and criticism around the team that gets into the media which sometimes can be avoided. I feel the players are trying their best. Constant scrutiny of the team, the players and the management at times can add to the pressure and the negativity around the team and it's something that Bangladesh as a nation, whether it's the public, the media or the board, need to get a little better at in terms of supporting the team when things are not going well."

"I always hear about us wanting to play fearless cricket and positive cricket but that's always difficult to do when there is always the fear of being dropped or the fear of being criticised publicly. If you want to play that brand of cricket, you got to understand that there are going to be times when players don't perform and are not successful. If you are going to play that brand of fearless cricket, we can't put the fear of dropping players in their minds," said the South African when asked whether the team suffers from a tough environment and insecurity regarding their places.

Domingo felt that frequent chops and changes to the squad was not allowing the Tigers to settle in and become a better T20 outfit.

"Many of the decisions regarding the chopping and changing which I think did not benefit the side going forward. Right now, the team is still unsettled and unsure about players' positions and roles because there has been so many changes in the last couple of months …opening batter, new captains and there has been some injuries. So it's been tricky," he said.



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