Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha said on Sunday that his charges are expressing freely in the middle as they are given ‘psychological safety’.
Bangladesh began to play an aggressive brand of cricket with the home series against England that marked the return of Hathurusingha as head coach after a gap of six years. Bangladesh earned their maiden T20I series win over world champions England after losing the ODI series by a 2-1 margin.
“I don’t think anything has changed. They are the same players with the same skills. Only the environment changed a little bit inside the dressing room and the way we speak and what we talk about. I tried to bring some psychological safety around the group and tell them that whether they do well or fail, they have value to us. They are valuable and we select them because of their skill sets. So, then, I don’t think anything has changed (in the players). I don’t know what happened before this but skills are the same,” Hathurusingha told reporters in Chattogram when his attention was drawn to the changes he brought to the team.
“One word I can sum up is psychological safety. It's a big word. There are a lot of things behind that, like if you can create an environment where the players can do their best without worrying about outcomes, without worrying about repercussions. Not only coaches, not only selectors even from their peers, if they can be free of trying things and if they fail it’s still okay, but they are also the same players and we trust them. I think that's the biggest change. I think it happened recently among us also, some of the other coaches also mentioned to me that that’s the biggest change. So that’s what I was trying to create as well. So I know that if you create an environment like that, they can do their best. I mean if their base is not good enough on some days, we will say that’s okay,” he said, adding that he does not want to claim it as a new year considering they always wanted to play an aggressive brand of cricket.
“I don’t see this as a new era. That’s how we wanted to play our cricket going forward. We won’t play aggressive cricket. Aggressive cricket, as I explain, doesn't mean we go and hit as hard further as we can. It’s aggressive in every sense of the word. We select aggressively (team selection?); field placing, our body language, our fielding and batting. Tactically, we’re going to be aggressive. We want to play the best way we can. I think that when we play like that with an aggressive and with freedom, this team has always done well,” he said.
Hathurusingha added that Bangladeshi cricketers will only play in IPL after completing their national duty. Liton Das, Shakib Al Hassan and Mustafizur Rahman have recently applied to BCB for seeking leave from March 31 to May 28 to play in the IPL that suggests they will miss the one-off Test against Ireland as well as skipping the Ireland tour to play three-match ODI series that is part of ICC Super League. The three matches are scheduled on May 9, 12 and 14 respectively at Chelmsford. BCB earlier informed the BCCI that their cricketers are available for a limited amount of time from April 8 to May 1 keeping the international commitment in mind.
“I think the board's decision is to play for your country first. And the board has given them the same message before they ask for NOC or before they put their name into the auctions,” said Hathurusingha. “Yeah, they can improve their scale playing in the IPL for sure. No doubt about it because that’s a very top and high-class tournament. But their number one priority is to play for your country,” he concluded.
Bangladesh cricketers attend a training session at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on Sunday. – BCB PHOTO