Currently, most part of the world is in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic and Bangladesh is no different. All forms of sports were suspended in the country in March and that has put a busy schedule of Bangladesh men’s national cricket team into a halt. Head coach Russell Domingo had travelled to his home thinking it to be a 10-day break but now counting days of the uncertain lockdown. Minhaz Uddin Khan from Dhaka Tribune reached Domingo over phone to learn his thoughts on the current situation and his future plan for the time when cricket gets back to the field.
Q. Time for international cricket to return is uncertain. It may be long. What are your plans once things get back to normal?
Russell Domingo: Obviously not sure when international cricket is going to start again. But important thing is that at resumption we should get some time to prepare both physically, technically before we rush into a series again.
Q. What will be your biggest challenge when cricket gets back to the field?
RD: Biggest challenge when we start again I suppose will be getting players physically fit to start playing again. The players have been given individual training program and schedules. But being in lockdown does limit your physical preparation considerably so getting guys fit before we play again is of paramount importance.
Q. Does your plan involve the domestic cricket?
RD: Regarding domestic cricket, I am not sure when that’s going to start again but obviously I keep a keen eye on who is doing well in domestic circuit. Dhaka Premier League is not taking place anymore but the Bangladesh Premier League and four-day cricket is also important and when I can I follow those very closely.
Q. This year was supposed to be a busy schedule for Bangladesh and a challenge for you as a coach. You must have had big plans for it?
RD: Very disappointed that we are not playing the big series against Australia. Big tour to the UK against Ireland would have been great. But missing those two series is a big blow for us. The more Test cricket we play the better for us so of course I am very disappointed in missing out on those, particularly the series against Australia.
Q. Do you think cricket world will remain the same once this coronavirus pandemic ends?
RD: I do not think cricket or the world is going to be the same after this virus, well not until the vaccine gets found for it. I think everybody is going to be very aware of social distancing. Not getting close to one another I suppose. Making sure our hygiene is where it needs to be. I don’t quite think it is going to be the same for a while.
Q. Tamim Iqbal was just appointed as new ODI captain. You must have put thoughts behind the decision?
RD: I am looking forward to work with the new [ODI] captain Tamim. I have enjoyed my time with him since he has been back to the squad after his break when we went to India. I am really pleased that he has been appointed as captain. We looked at other one or two options available [for the new captain] as well. But the board decided to go with Tamim and I think it is a very good decision. I am certainly looking forward to work with him in future. I have enjoyed the way he has gone about his business and ready them to make Bangladesh a force in world cricket.
Q. How do you rate Mashrafe bin Mortaza as a captain? Do you think his achievements will put added pressure to his successor, as in for Tamim at the moment?
RD: Hard for me to talk too much about Mashrafe. I don’t know him that well. I have been involved in a few games with him. Three games against Zimbabwe. So I don’t know how he goes about his business. But look,Tamim is one of Bangladeshi legends. He has performed unbelievably well. He is the leading run scorer in all formats [for Bangladesh]. He has got the pedigree and the knowledge in the game to lead the team well. So I don’t think he will be under any more pressure than any international captain around the world. I am expecting great things from him going forward.
Q. Given the coronavirus situation now, Shakibal Hasanwill be available for cricket once again by the time things get back to normal. Your thoughts on that?
RD: I suppose by the time we start playing Shakib will be nearly available again. I think he is banned till the end of October. Plus side is that he is not missing too many games [for Bangladesh]. He is a great player, the best all-rounder in the world. To have him back in our group will be fantastic for the team. The players will enjoy playing with him, they look up to him. He is a great player around the younger players.