Courtney Walsh’s first bowling camp as Bangladesh’s bowling coach may have been affected by rain, but he is still trying to do his best with the national team’s fast bowlers.
Walsh is using the time inside the Shere Bangla National Stadium’s dressing room to impress upon the youngsters the values of consistency, bowling in pairs, and generally thinking more about their game.
Walsh joined Bangladesh in September last year. But he hasn’t had the time to have a prolonged training camp, with series against Afghanistan and England at home, followed by tours of New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka, Ireland and England keeping the team busy until June.
Over the past week, Walsh has been working with Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Shafiul Islam, Kamrul Islam Rabbi and a few others, helping them fix errors.
“We have been trying to fine-tune and correct some of those mistakes, to improve in certain areas,” he said. “Progress has been made, but unfortunately we have been having some bad weather, so not as much progress has been made as I would have liked. But we are not wasting the days. Whenever we can, we are going outdoors. We are having meetings inside, just discussing cricket and trying to get the cricket brain sharp.
“I want to see more consistency, control, variation, and to put more thought into what they are doing. They are young and exciting, but they have to be a little bit more consistent and keep the pace up. Once they get on to the park, they have to do it. We can’t do it for them. I have been telling them that ‘you are in control of your own destiny, just go out there and get the job done. Try to improve and learn all the time’. If they can achieve the first part – control and consistency – before the competition starts, I will be very happy.”
Mustafizur, in particular, has been in focus. The left-arm pacer hasn’t been able to bring his range of skills to the fore since recovering from shoulder surgery last year. “I noticed he was falling away a little bit in England. We have been trying to get him to be more upright and balanced so that he can pull through. We are also trying to get his pace back to where it used to be and get him a little bit closer to the stumps.
“He knows what needs to be done as well. I have to give him credit because he is eager to get out there and practice perfectly. He wants to be the best there is, and he is a special talent. This weather has frustrated him as well because we were making progress. He has what it takes to correct what’s happening, and I am sure he will come out better.”
Walsh clarified that changes don’t necessarily mean changes in his bowling action. “I wouldn’t say he will have a new bowling action, but we are trying to get him more balanced at the crease, and get him a bit closer to the stumps. I will not be trying to change his action unless I think that’s required.
“Because of the operation, he was falling away a little bit. He has recognised it. Last couple of days, he has been close to what he used to be. He is heading in the right direction. There won’t be any massive changes.”
Walsh has also been trying to get Mustafizur and Taskin Ahmed to complement each other’s skills. “Fast bowlers hunt in pairs and pass information and communicate. I think we had eight of them in the room; they got the message. Fizz and Taskin can complement each other. A fast bowler mentioned that he likes to bowl and help his partner, which is good.
“So we are thinking about that now. It is good for fast bowlers to start thinking this way now as youngsters. What used to happen was that instead of complementing each other, they used to compete. What helped myself and Curtly Ambrose was that we helped each other. We tried to out-think batsmen.”