Even though Bangladesh are heading into ICC Cricket World Cup as confident bunch with belief that they are capable of beating any team, they would like to remain as underdog, vastly due to quell the pressure.
Bangladesh moved into the quarterfinal in the last World Cup in Australia-New Zealand in 2015 but this time they are eying bigger prize—a semifinal berth in the cricket’s biggest extravaganza.
It’s not an exaggerated ambition if their performances after the 2015 World Cup is taken into the consideration. In the last four years, they beat all of the top teams quite regularly in home and away, making them the true giants of the cricket world.
But there was a disappointment of a major trophy, which they shrugged off in the tri-series tournament in Ireland, being an unbeaten champion. Steve Rhodes, the Bangladesh head coach, feels that his team is in a really good place to do well in the upcoming World Cup after establishing a winning culture in the team. But having said that, still he believed the underdog tag would be great for the team’s cause.
“One of the things the dressing room feels is quietly confident,” Rhodes said on Sunday at Cardiff. “But we are well aware that we are playing against some very good teams. We respect the opposition; we don’t fear them. But what we have been trying to do is play that down a little bit, and actually it is great to be an underdog.
“If we can keep surprising all these big teams, everybody is going to be commenting about what is going on with Bangladesh, ‘how do they do this sort of thing, how do they keep doing this sort of thing.’ If we don’t get too big for our boots, then we will keep surprising, and we should handle the pressure a lot better.”
Rhodes has been in his role with Bangladesh for just under a year, and he says he has built on what was already in place rather than trying to fix something that was not broken.
“The key thing is the team was that they were going in the right direction in ODIs before I got here,” he said. “So I had to quickly assess why and how, and then I certainly didn’t want to be a person to stop that growth. I had to adapt my natural coaching style to work with the team. Sometimes that can be a little bit taxing for me.”
“But I quickly found out giving a little bit of responsibility to the guys, they are very experienced. I support when I can, realise the ones who want an arm around the shoulder to get the best out of them. But I think the main thing was not coming in and trying to shake things up. It was coming in and trying to see and assess why we were going forward and getting better. And then just enhance that even more.”