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POST TIME: 10 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Head coach Rhodes sets example through ‘exceptional’ dedication
MD ABU TALHA SARKER

Head coach Rhodes sets example through ‘exceptional’ dedication

Six Bangladesh cricketers pose for a photograph at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the capital yesterday ahead of their departure for Dubai to take part in the ACC Asia Cup to be held from September 15. BCB Photo

The newly appointed head coach for the Tigers, Steve Rhodes, has been deemed ‘exceptional’ and 'different' than all the previous foreign head coaches.

Rhodes started his Bangladesh job with over one-month-long West Indies tour in June-August. The team's performance in this tour was lauded by the cricket fraternity, especially in the one-day and T20 series, because of the way they bounced back following their shocking Test series defeat (2-0).

The coach returned to Dhaka with the team and then went to Ireland from London to watch a match of the Bangladesh ‘A’ team against their Irish counterparts to find out players for his next journey in the middle of a few days of vacation. None of the previous head coaches had come back with the team to Bangladesh and rather flown to their respective countries, citing their long absence from respective families.

After getting back to Dhaka with the team members, Rhodes was also present on the very first day of the team's training camp for Asia Cup, even though his presence was not needed there. The camp began with a fitness training session and previous coaches usually did not attend such sessions.

Last but not least, when the players were preparing to fly to the United Arab Emirates for Asia Cup, the head coach could be seen at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium (SBNCS). he appeared at the country’s home of cricket at Mirpur with his coaching staff to witness the practice match between High Performance (HP) and the combined team, which had been formed by the rest of the players of the preliminary squad.

On the first match of the two-match Twenty20 series arranged by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) for the preparation of the HP players, Rhodes took a full tour of the stadium and seriously looked at the players. Before leaving the stadium, the England-born coach told reporters that he would be present on the next day’s match, where he was seen till the conclusion of the match, although other coaching staff left the ground without him.

After the match, Rhodes talked to a string of young players, such as Fazle Mahmud Rabbi, Zakir Hasan, Saif Hasan and Syed Khaled Ahmed, in the dressing room.

A young paceman, Syed Khaled Ahmed, said the head coach had told him to put more emphasis on bowling variations and perfection of deliveries.

“I think he was pretty impressive. He bowled with lot of life and it’s certainly something that we can work on in future,” Rhodes said of Khaled Ahmed.

Even though the combined team won both of the matches against the need-based HP team, the performance of the some players of the HP team drew the attention of the head coach. The HP team will travel to Chattogram to play another series against the Bangladesh Under-19 Cricket Team, which is there since August 29 to preparing themselves for the forthcoming ACC U-19 Asia Cup-2018, hosted by Bangladesh in between September 29 and October 7.

BCB director Akram Khan was reluctant to make any comment or evaluate the current head coach. “Steve has just begun his job. Let him pass at least a year and then only could we evaluate him,” he added.