Pitches in India surprised us: Shrinivas
Having worked as the Bangladesh team's performance analyst for nearly six years, Shrinivas Chandrasekaran bid adieu to Bangladesh cricket after the World Cup. He is the second member of the support staff after pace bowling coach Allan Donald to cut ties with the team. In an interview with The Daily Star's Mazhar Uddin on Saturday, Shrinivas spoke candidly about what he felt went wrong in the World Cup campaign. Following are excerpts of the interview-
The Daily Star (DS): As a performance analyst, what do you think was the reason behind the team's disastrous World Cup?
Shrinivas Chandrasekaran (SC): We did have a plan. But sometimes things don't happen according to plan. In terms of batting, I feel we were short of a batter in the squad because at the time you need an extra batter who can bowl a bit. Obviously Shakib [Al Hasan] and Miraz [Mehedi Hasan] are there but Bangladesh cricket needs someone who can bat lower in the order and also bowl. Unfortunately, our batters lost their form during the World Cup, that is the reason why we always felt we were a batter short. Some of our key players who had done well over the last one and half years were unable to perform in the World Cup.
DS: Were the conditions in India as you had anticipated?
SC: One of the things that surprised us was the quality of the wickets here in India. You expect the Chennai or Delhi pitch to play slow and low. I even experienced that during the IPL. But it actually turned out to be a belter of a wicket. Before the start of the tournament, we went through each venue, trying to understand which players are required in what venue and work a game plan considering the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent. But as you move forward, things might happen differently. So your game plan also changes accordingly.
DS: How did the dressing room react to the defeat to the Netherlands?
SC: Everyone went quiet. No one could even look at each other and the environment was very dull. Shakib was very shocked since he had high expectations to do well in this tournament. Seeing everything turn out like that probably hit him as a leader. He didn't share his feelings too much but I know him, deep down how disappointing it is for him when the team loses. Personally, for me it was a tough pill to swallow.
DS: How did the coaching staff react when Shakib went back to Bangladesh to train with his childhood mentor mid-tournament?
SC: I had the experience of working with Shakib during the IPL so it's nothing new for me. In the 2019 IPL season, he was with the Sunrisers Hyderabad and during that time he went back and brought his coach to work on certain things. The trip to Bangladesh did benefit him. So me personally and the coaching staff didn't find it unusual.
DS: How often did players, especially youngsters, approach you for help?
SC: Firstly, a trust needs to be developed between the player and the performance analyst. I had great conversations with Shanto [Najmul Hossain] even when he was not scoring runs. Same as Liton [Das], who is very specific about what he wants. There are certain players who want to know the details while there are some who have particular things on their minds. But as there are no analysts in the domestic structure, it takes time for the youngsters to gain that trust. I would suggest every domestic team to keep an analyst who can give the youngsters data about their game plans. At this moment I don't think their games are being recorded so probably for them it's difficult to review what is wrong and what are the areas they need to work on.