‘Bangladesh first need to win abroad, then dream about WC’
The eight-wicket defeat against Australia in Pune yesterday put an end to a forgettable World Cup for Bangladesh. It's now time to decipher through the wreckage of the Tigers' campaign to find where it all went wrong and figure out a path for the future. In an interview with the Daily Star's Mazhar Uddin on Friday, the team's technical director for the World Cup, Sridharan Sriram, opined that Bangladesh need to focus on winning matches abroad if they want to do well in ICC events. Following are the excerpts of the interview:
The Daily Star (DS): What went wrong for Bangladesh in this disastrous World Cup campaign?
Sridharan Sriram (SS): You make it out to be a disastrous World Cup. Yes, we should have won the game against the Netherlands, no excuses for that. But apart from that, we lost against really good teams and we never got bowled out for 50 or 70. Yes, we were unable to post big totals and our batters were unable to convert their starts into big hundreds. Unless they learn that they won't be able to challenge big teams.
DS: A team like Afghanistan with limited resources have done really well in this World Cup, so why couldn't Bangladesh?
SS: The number of Afghanistan players playing in leagues outside is phenomenal. They have got about eight or nine players playing in the IPL which really helped them get the exposure. Look at Bangladesh, we hardly get exposure in leagues overseas. Even in our Bangladesh Premier League, I really want to see our local players step up and win matches. That is something the franchises should start working on, so the local players can start winning matches when the pressure is on.
DS: What should the Bangladesh team do next if they want to vie for the trophy in future mega events?
SS: One thing I can say is that Bangladesh need to punch above their weight and not look for trophies and start beating bigger teams on a regular basis: doing well away from home and making it to the semifinals or at least pushing for a semifinal spot. We just can't reach the 10th floor straight away as you have to go one step at a time. We have got to have realistic expectations and goals but keep pushing the boundaries towards that goal. I think the realistic goal for Bangladesh is to do well away from home and the bigger teams should start to see Bangladesh as a threat, not an easy opponent. That should be the process for the board, media and fans. Having smaller targets would be better rather than saying win a major ICC trophy as it's not going to happen overnight.
DS: Did expectations from the fans and the media affect the players?
SS: It's the expectations they put on themselves. I think nobody can influence you from the outside unless you put yourself under pressure. Even the whole world can be against you but you can remain focused on your job. I think pressure is never external and what the media and public say should not matter at this level.
DS: You signed for the duration of the World Cup. Will you be continuing with the Bangladesh team after the tournament?
SS: I don't know as nobody has spoken with me yet. I know Papon (Nazmul Hassan) bhai and Jalal (Jalal Yunus) bhai know that I am very committed to Bangladesh cricket. I have got my IPL commitment, which is very important for me. Definitely, I would like to work with Bangladesh in the coming days. The relation and rapport I have with the team I think I will savour.