Bangladesh team’s technical director Khaled Mahmud Saturday said it is the duty of the cricketers to make on-field decisions. Mahmud informed that there is nothing wrong with the coaching staff sending messages from the dressing room during a game but the final call should always be taken by the players on the field.
Mahmud’s statement came after Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib al Hasan credited the “coaching staffs allowing the players to make on-field decisions” behind Bangladesh’s dominant performance in the tri-nation ODI series. The Tigers Friday registered a record 163-run win against Sri Lanka. The Tigers following the win confirmed a berth in the grand finale with two games to spare. Zimbabwe are the third participating team.
Bangladesh during their tour of South Africa last year was hit with dressing room controversies after ex-Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim publicly criticised intervention by former head coach Chandika Hathurusingha. Hathurusingha within a month of the tour made an absurd end to his Bangladesh job.
“It is the job of the players to make on-field decisions, given that they are all vastly experienced. I think it is around 60 years of experience compiling that of Shakib, Tamim [Iqbal], Mushfiq, Mashrafe [bin Mortaza] and Mahmudullah. They of course have the ability to make on-field decisions. Most of these cricketers have played the role of captain for different teams,” said Mahmud to the media.
“The support staff can send suggestions when we think it is right but a final decision has to come from the players. One cannot always read the on-field situation sitting outside so sometimes our messages can confuse the players making decision in the middle. I do not want to create that confusion. Mashrafe is a very experienced cricketer as well as Shakib. So it is wise for them to make the decisions,” the former Bangladesh captain added.
Both Mashrafe and Shakib stated that freedom currently persists in the dressing room following the departure of Hathurusingha. It is understood that the cricketers, let it be the junior most in the fold or the most senior, are being given the floor to participate in different decision making. The positives of such a culture in the dressing room are noticeable on-field with the body language and commitment.
Commenting on the current situation in the dressing room, Mahmud said, “The cricketers can tell best about it. But what I think is the dressing room is confident now. The discussion between the players has been very fruitful. We try to involve the cricketers in everything. We have given them the responsibility. There is not much change with the team but they might be feeling the freedom.”
The current situation has opened the door for the Tigers to experiment with their playing XI, or rest key players. But Mahmud believes in the importance of winning momentum and not go for unnecessary changes. Bangladesh will take on Zimbabwe Tuesday in their third league of the tournament, followed by the game against Sri Lanka Thursday.
“Winning is a habit and it is a problem when you move away from winning matches. We can lose with our best XI too. There might be some technical changes and that’s a different thing but it is important to hold onto winning combination. We have not won the final yet and that’s our ambition in this tournament. We have won two matches playing very good cricket and want to hold on to that,” Mahmud explained.