HP coach eying to produce players capable of playing Test
Bangladesh High Performance (HP) Unit head coach Toby Radford has focused on producing players capable of standing up in Test cricket through the HP programme.
Radford basically emphasized Bangladesh's Test cricket after watching their struggle in this version during the Tigers tour in West Indies in 2018.
When Bangladesh players were horribly being tormented by fast bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach, Radford was West Indies's assistant coach.
"I was with the West Indies team when we played Bangladesh two years ago. Tests were over in three days. Pace of Shannon Gabriel and the rest of the fast bowlers blew away Bangladesh's top-order," Radford said during a virtual press conference on Thursday.
"Then we saw a very different Bangladesh side with the white-ball formats. They won both the ODIs and T20Is. I have told the board that I want to create a group of players that can really stand up in Test cricket. They can be technically tight, face 90 miles an hour bowling and bat for five hours. They can bowl in long spells. The whole of this 14-15 days in camp is red-ball cricket. We have got bowling machines turned up, short and swinging. It is designed to test technique and work on the areas that need working on," he added.
Radford had already been informed that the players don't play red-ball cricket much. But according to him, the players need to play the longer version format much to hone the technical aspects of the game.
"According to the local coaches, the young players don't play a lot of red-ball cricket. The mindset is about scoring all the time. The problem is when you got three slips and a gully and they are coming at you, you want to be behind the ball and leave the ball. You don't want to be inside it," he said.
Radford drew the example of Virat Kohli, Steven Smith, Kane Williamson and others who established themselves as all formats of players due to basically being a good player of Test cricket. He basically wants to make the young players understand that they need to be good Test players if they want to be all format players.
"This whole period for me is technique, testing them, getting players that can deliver in a Test team. I also believe, and I did a presentation with all the players yesterday, that if you look at the best players in world cricket like Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli, Ben Stokes and Steve Smith, they are all good in all formats. They are all good Test players," he remarked.
"They have a good basic technique, and once you have that, you can then develop the funky T20 stuff. I am working on them having a good, solid technique first. I threw balls for four hours this morning, and I had a bloke throwing at them at 90 miles an hour. The idea was to test them for five-day cricket. You have to leave balls and get behind balls. Duck under them, be gutsy. Get forward. It is a test of what you want in Test cricket."
He went on to say: "It is the focus at the moment. The T20 and 50-over stuff comes later. I want to see the high-end players first. Let's get the chassis of the car built before we get the alloys. I'd like to see Bangladesh be really competitive in Tests, but not just in Bangladesh. The only way you can play against Mitchell Starc in Australia is if you turn the bowling machine up and really get people used to it and techniques to cope with it. It is my whole philosophy."
He however said it's a privilege for him to work with youngsters and if they can make them good Test players, he will deem himself as successful.
"I don't see it as pressure. I see it as a privilege to work with good youngsters. For them, any success they've had is fantastic, but its gone. They are where they are now. As well as the U19s did by becoming world champions, these guys want to be pushing for international teams. I mentioned to them after lunch today, I am seeing selectors watching the practice every day, which is brilliant. I am really encouraged about it. When I was in the West Indies, you couldn't even find the selectors. They were not bothered about how players were training and developing." -BSS