The search for a head coach is still on

Almost two weeks ago, Paul Farbrace, the assistant coach of England, turned down the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s (BCB) proposal of becoming the head coach of Tigers.

According to ESPNcricinfo, Farbrace was close to signing up as the head-coach of Tigers. But after being sent the contract, he chose instead to inform the BCB that he was unable to join the Bangladesh team. The BCB still remains hopeful, but the possibilities of Farbrace being appointed as the head coach, are less.

This means that Bangladesh’s search for the ideal replacement of Chandika Hathurusingha is prolonged to a greater extent. Even though, on March 7, Nazmul Hassan, the BCB boss, said, his search for the coach has ended and the name would be revealed by the first week of April, but four days later, Mr. Hassan hinted, they were keen to interview more coaches about the job and two days later, the turndown of Farbrace surely, would test the patience of BCB and Bangladesh cricket followers more.

Names like Anil Kumble, Tom Moody, and Rahul Dravid are heard time and again, but at the end of the day, those names manage an entry in the rumor list. Though, recent news suggests, BCB had been in talks with former South African batsman Gary Kirsten to hire him as a team consultant for an extended period.

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According to Jalal Yunus, the BCB spokesman, “He is on our list but he will come only as a team consultant. It’s not final, though. Hopefully, we will be able to strike a deal after the Indian Premier League”.

The respected Courtney Walsh was appointed as the interim coach of  Tigers, but being a man of ethics, it can also be dubbed whether Walsh accepted the ugliness of Shakib Al Hasan and Nurul Hasan in Sri Lanka or not. A reputed man like Walsh believes in playing the game in a fair and gentle way. For him, aggression is expressed through deeds and not by displaying ugliness on and off the field. In that sense, how long Walsh would continue his role remains a moot question.

Bangladesh are experiencing a similar situation to 2014 when they were without a coach and after a brief period of searching, BCB appointed an unknown figure named Chandika Hathurusingha in May 2014. Chandika had Heath Streak alongside him and both of them scripted one of the most memorable periods in the history of Bangladesh cricket.

All of a sudden, the dark days of 2014 were over and the Tigers entered into a period of an absolute purple – a patch where they earned the reputation of big boys in world cricket. Sadly, Streak and Chandika had to leave without thanks – a bad gesture by the media and fans for sure.

Especially, the departure of Chandika has been a huge loss. His impact on our cricket had been humongous. The local media, fans, and critics might be biased enough to ignore him, but I am sure, deep down, they would be feeling the impact of Chandika.

What sort of a coach does Bangladesh need?

It’s a tough question to answer.

To coach in countries like Bangladesh is a tough task nowadays. Apart from dealing with the pressures on the field, there exist pressures off the field as well. Keeping such things in mind, Bangladesh need a coach who would be able to balance both the pressures on and off the field smartly and run the show with enough guts. Again, no matter who is appointed as the coach, should have the tendency to embrace our culture warmly and should know, for the common people of Bangladesh, cricket is not only a game but a matter of life and death.

Someone like Ian Pont can be a very good choice as the head coach. He is one of those coaches, who have a very sound knowledge about Bangladesh cricket. As a bowling coach during 2010 and 2011, when the team won 11 of its 14 ODI’s till the 2011 World Cup, Pont was very successful in polishing the likes of Rubel Hossain and Shafiul Islam. Even though he is more famous as a bowling coach, but his knowledge and skill are not limited to bowling only, but in batting and fielding, he bears the same sort of knowledge and skill. Of course, Pont has the ability to manage big egos and bring out the best from them. As the head coach of a Franchise team in the Twenty20 League in Bangladesh, he struck gold in successive seasons.

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One must not forget, Pont, the writer of renowned cricket books on fast bowling, is a three-time ICC World Cup coach who has been at the 2003 South Africa with England, 2007 West Indies with the Netherlands and 2011 India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh WC with hosts Bangladesh.

Then, Adam Griffith, the current coach of Tasmanian Tigers can be approached as well. When Griffith was appointed as the head coach of Tasmania, he faced the tough task of lifting the stateside who finished at the bottom in the previous season. But under Griffith’s coaching and man-management abilities, Tasmania have performed very well in the 2017-18 season. Griffith and his fellow assistant coach Jeff Vaughn played a very crucial role in reviving the career of Tim Pane who was almost lost from the international arena.

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Bangladesh can also consider Wade Anthony Seccombe as the head coach. Wade is the head-coach of Queensland. Under his tenure, Queensland charged to their Sheffield Shield title in six years. In Queensland, he was instrumental in developing a healthy cricket culture which paid rich dividends in the long run. He offers the players to enjoy the game and make them feel as if they are in a family.

On the other hand, Greg Shipperd is vastly experienced as a coach. The former Australian cricketer has the experience of coaching great teams with distinction. An experienced campaigner, Greg always has that nag of working on the simple matters more and possesses the eye to spot the weaknesses in a player and fix the chinks to bring out the best from them. Moreover, he has knowledge about the topsy-turvy world of subcontinent cricket.

Above all, Bangladesh must not forget about Richard McInnes. All the world and Bangladesh know how influential he had been, in nurturing the talents of Bangladesh cricket. He was instrumental in gifting Bangladesh Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, and Tamim Iqbal and is one of those persons who know the ins and outs of Bangladesh’s cricket culture.

Meanwhile, in County Cricket, there are high profile names who could benefit Bangladesh cricket a lot.

Richard Dawson is one such name who’s in the plans of England Cricket Board. But with Trevor Bayliss and Farbrace still around the corner, the possibility of Dawson as England’s head coach is thin. Then there is Paul Collingwood, the former England cricketer, who is an excellent reader of the game and gifts a positive environment in the dressing room. Paul was part of the Scotland staff during the 2015 World Cup.

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Ashley Giles helped England to improve a lot during the period of 2012-14. Many think he was unlucky to miss out in2014 as England opted for Peter Moore. He was one of the contenders to replace Bayliss as the head coach of England.

Jon Lewis is another customer who could be considered.

He stepped in as the head coach of Durham after the illness of Geoff Cook in 2013 and had an immediate impact by leading the side to the Championship Victory.

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After then landing the job permanently following his work as Second XI coach, Lewis then led the side to Royal London One-Day Cup glory in 2014, but the county was relegated by the England and Wales Cricket Board two years later after financial problems.

Lewis has known to have great insights about the game and can play the role as a great mentor when it comes to nurturing young talents.

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Meanwhile, the value of Steve Rhodes as a coach can never be undermined. Rhodes is hugely praised for his contributions towards Worcestershire and like the names mentioned above, Rhodes’ quality as a head-coach bears enough weight. He is not only innovative and skillful but possesses a great quality to manage critical characters in the side and earn the respect of players by being their friends rather than the strict headmaster of a school. In his plans, there are no ultra-adventures, but keeping things simple is his way to go. His friendly nature and astute man-management qualities can be extremely helpful for Bangladesh at this stage.

Why coaches from England and Australia?

One might ask, why have I focused only on coaches from England and Australia and not other countries. My answer would be, with due respect to coaches from other countries, England and Australia have been producing the best coaches for a brief period. They have been able to create a very good impact on the team and for the last two decades, their deeds are well known to all.

One must not forget, not everyone is a Chandika, Streak, Duncan Fletcher, John Wright or Andy Flower.

One might also ask, why have I not stated anything about the local coaches. My answer would be, the local coaches of Bangladesh are still not prepared enough to run a national side.

Appointing famous names might not be the ideal decision

On March 7, Mr. Hassan said, “I can say that he is a well-known figure, not someone unknown like Chandika Hathurusingha”. Now, one mistake, Bangladesh cricket’s hierarchy and critics make and which is, the tendency to look for famous names as the head coach. Famous names don’t always prove to best of coaches. What Bangladesh require now a competent coach rather than famous customers as quality matters more. History suggests, how the likes Bob Woolmer, Dav Whatmore and Chandika changed the complexion of their respective teams and made them world beaters in the course of time. Big names have mostly proved to hog the limelight more for their star status and not for their coaching abilities.

Conclusion

Time is running fast and Bangladesh have a very busy season ahead of them. But, the position of the head coach is still vacant. BCB is trying heart and soul to find the right person. Over the years, Bangladesh have earned a very bad reputation for handling cricket coaches. The whole Chandika saga portrayed a very image of Bangladesh cricket in the international circuit. But still, sensible brains exist in Bangladesh cricket’s fraternity. The job of coaching Bangladesh might be tough, but it would one hell of a cracking journey for any coach. T the end of the day, he would be a satisfied man.

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