Bangladesh cricket team’s new head coach Russell Domingo has explained that the Tigers have been working hard for the past two weeks in preparation of the first Test match against visitors Afghanistan which starts Thursday in Chattogram.
“Nobody plays to lose and our aim is also to win. We want to focus on the basics and do them well,” said Domingo to the reporters at a press conference in Chattogram on Tuesday.
Domingo, however, explained that there was no way the players would be taking Afghanistan lightly and the visitors have some excellent players that will pose a big threat, especially in conditions that would also favor them.
“The preparation the team has gone through in the past two weeks has been as good as any team I’ve coached. The players are by no means complacent and taking this Test against Afghanistan lightly. They’re ready to play good hard Test cricket to come out on top in the next five days,” Domingo added.
The visitors will be facing Bangladesh in a Test for the first time and they would also look to win, explained Domingo. But he added that his players have played with and against the Afghanistan players in different formats and they will not be unfamiliar with them.
“Afghanistan will definitely play to win and they will feel that the conditions here will favour them and their bowlers. So, they will be confident. We have played with and against some of their players in the Bangladesh Premier League. (Mohammad) Nabi and Rashid Khan are quality bowlers that have done well all over the world so that will be a big challenge. We have seen how threatening their bowling attack can be in the shorter formats so even though it’s a different format, they will pose a big threat for us.”
With a new setup of fellow South Africans Charl Langeveldt (fast bowling coach) and Ryan Cook (fielding coach), Domingo has been happy with the hard work that the team has been putting in: “I’ve been very excited with what I’ve seen and the guys have been working very hard. Their energy, attitude and work ethic has been fantastic. Brian Cook has been phenomenal with his work.”
“We want to make sure that the bowlers are fit and looking to bowl long spells and that’s something the Charl (Langeveldt) has been working on with the bowlers. The best fast bowlers can bowl 18-22 overs a day at the same pace and I’m not sure whether we can do that yet, but it’s a work in progress,” Domingo explained
Domingo also had words of praise for the team’s captain and premier all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan. Shakib did not take part in the last one-day international tour against Sri Lanka, where the hosts won convincingly 3-0. The left-hander had a fantastic World Cup prior to that, even though Bangladesh finished eighth.
“He (Shakib) has been the leading all-rounder in world cricket for a long time. So, the expectations (from Shakib) are always high. I think, more importantly, the expectations from himself is very high. He sets really high standards and he has trained really hard. His performances in all formats have been really fantastic. Hopefully, he can improve on that and sustain that. Our expectations from him as a leader and a player is very high,” the South African added.
Bangladesh have been good at home Tests and they last whitewashed a visiting Windies team where the last Test was won by an innings and it was an all-spin attack from the Tigers. Domingo expressed that he would like to see how the team does in the one-off Test against Afghanistan before he made decisions about team selection.
“About selection, I’d first like to see how the team does with the process that Shakib (Al Hasan) and the selectors already have in place, since it has brought them success at home, and then see if I can implement my changes if they’re required,” Domingo concluded.