Newly appointed Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes officially took charge of his position Wednesday as the Test squad for the bilateral series against the West Indies reported at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka following Eid-ul-Fitr vacation.
In his first day at office, former English cricketer Steve got introduced with his charges before observing the happenings in the dressing room. Steve then delivered his initial message to the cricketers.
Given that this is his maiden job as an international team’s head coach, Steve informed that he is busy learning about the Bangladesh players and doing research work after arriving in the capital Tuesday night.
“Everything is new, as you would expect. I don’t know too much about the players. But I’ve been busy at home checking on the internet regularly, seeing how they go, how they play. (Looked) at them on Youtube highlights. Getting to know some faces, of the support team as well. All a bit of a rush, to be honest. Obviously now we are on the eve of going away to the Caribbean and that’s what I am looking forward to doing best, helping support the team and to improve them as cricketers,” said Steve in his first press conference in Bangladesh colours at the home of cricket in Mirpur Wednesday.
Bangladesh squad for the two-match Test series against West Indies. pic.twitter.com/rHxfbGiZgy— Bangladesh Cricket (@BCBtigers) June 18, 2018
Former wicketkeeper-batsman Steve is the successor to Sri Lanka’s Chandika Hathurusingha, who resigned last November.
Born in Yorkshire, Steve represented England from 1989 till 1995 and played 11 Tests and nine ODIs. In the domestic circuit, the former stumper-batsman played 440 first-class matches and 477 List A games. Steve worked with Worcestershire County Cricket Club from 2006 to 2017 as a coach and team director. Bangladesh Test and T20I captain Shakib al Hasan had played under Steve during his stint with the county in 2010.
Despite his long involvement in cricket, Steve only made the headlines, particularly in south Asia, after being named as the new Bangladesh head coach. The English coach stated that he is aware of the passion for the game in Bangladesh and how the supporters crazily follow their team. Keeping all that in mind Steve said he is ready to take up the challenge.
“It’s a great opportunity for me personally. I cut my teeth in county cricket. I’ve been involved in the England Lions programmes and the England team when we came out to Bangladesh (in the 2016-17 season). I’ve done a long apprenticeship in that place and I am looking forward to the challenge of international coaching,” said Steve.
Snaps of Bangladesh preliminary squad practice session today at NCA-SBNCS. pic.twitter.com/vPMdCpustN— Bangladesh Cricket (@BCBtigers) June 12, 2018
“I am looking forward to working with elite international players and I think that the Bangladesh team have certainly got some excellent international players. More importantly for me, now I’ve become a Tiger – I know that might be the headline for you guys. I have played cricket for a long time and coached for a long time, but whatever team you are involved with, you wholeheartedly put all your efforts into winning. If that’s against England in a World Cup, that’s fantastic. Now I think it is right for Steve Rhodes to become a Tiger,” he added.
Steve in his first assignment has to deal with the sizzling form of the West Indies in Tests. The Caribbean side have been sensational against Sri Lanka in the three-match Test series, leading 1-0 ahead of the final game, a day-nighter, starting Saturday in Bridgetown.
Both the Windies’ batting and bowling departments are in superb form, especially paceman Shannon Gabriel.
“Yeah, let’s play him well. You cannot take anything away from what Gabriel is doing. He’s got an amazing haul of wickets in the last Test match. I know him quite well, I signed him when I was with Worcestershire. He’s bowling very well. So we gotta prepare for him, hence the reason we will be practising the way we will over the next few days. They got some good bowlers there, but we got some good batters who should cope up,” Steve explained.