Head coach of Bangladesh national cricket team Russell Domingo has emphasised playing domestic cricket when there is no assignment in the international circuit.
Domingo said this when he joined a virtual press conference - his first such appearance during the pandemic-on Friday, reports UNB.
Bangladesh played their last international game back in March this year against Zimbabwe. They were supposed to travel to Pakistan after that, but the Covid-19 situation did not allow them to do that. Bangladesh's Ireland tour and Australia's Bangladesh tour were also postponed due to the pandemic.
After a long hiatus forced by Covid-19, the Tigers were scheduled to tour Sri Lanka on September 27 to take part in a three-match Test series which is a part of the ongoing World Test Championship. But a tight Covid-19 restriction forced authorities to postpone this series as well.
Sri Lanka wanted to keep Bangladesh in a 14-day quarantine upon their arrival in the island nation, but the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has urged to trim it to seven days which is refused by Sri Lanka. The series was subsequently postponed.
"Obviously, I'm very disappointed that the Sri Lanka tour is not taking place. I think the BCB was correct in refraining from going under the stipulations that were placed upon the team. It would have been very difficult for us to spend that amount of time locked up in our room without preparation and played a Test match in 10 days' time. I'm fully supporting the decision," Domingo said during a virtual interaction with the media.
"However, it does leave us short of international cricket. It has now been nearly seven months since the team played together, and after the last Zimbabwe series, we seemed to be making some good strides. BCB are doing some domestic leagues. There have been one or two invites from outside nations to play cricket in December. Nothing has been confirmed as yet. I think rightfully domestic cricket needs to be going. As a coach I prefer guys play domestic cricket first and then go into international cricket," he added.
Tigers are currently busy training as a team. They have started a 15-day long bio-secure training camp in which they will play three intra-squad games. Domingo says that all the players are having a good level of fitness.
They thanked BCB's individual training programme which has helped the cricketers to keep themselves ready to play.
"I think we're very fortunate that Sabbir Khan (national team manager) has done an outstanding job in organising individual training sessions. The guys have been extremely busy in the last three or four months. We've been here now for nearly a month. I'm proud of the work that they've done. They seem to be in good physical condition. A lot of players seem to be in good touch in the nets. The bowlers have got themselves fit. Taskin is looking unbelievable. It's exciting," Domingo told the media.
"The big challenge is now to take that practice and preparation and build it into game time. There's a big difference between training and actually spending six or seven hours in the field and having to bowl again. We need to make sure that we gradually bring them back to international cricket. If we can have some warm-up games like we do here, and then step it up in domestic games. I'm sure these guys will be ready in three to four weeks for international cricket," he added.
During this camp, many players are working with their core skills which are needed for some good changes.
Domingo mentioned the names of some players, who are working hard to take their game to the next level.
"We're trying to change Shadman's (Islam) stance a little bit. He used to stand upright in his stance. We're trying to get his bat down on the ground which will allow him to swing the bat up and get a little bit more force when he hits the ball. This type of change is difficult when you've a match in a week's time," he said.
He went on saying, "It's a change that needs a couple of weeks or maybe a month to get accustomed to. Ottis (Gibson, bowling coach) is trying to get Mustafizur (Rahman) to shape the ball back in the right-hander. Hopefully, we can see some of that tomorrow when he's bowling with the new ball. The way (Najmul Islam) Shanto plays spin, he gets his head falling over. We're trying to get his head up a little bit more."