Bangladesh news April 17, 2012

Rule of Law needed a longer run

Bangladesh's cricketers take time to get back into the groove after a significant event, and so Stuart Law's resignation as coach comes as a big setback

Stuart Law's resignation as Bangladesh coach after only nine months in the job is a backward step for the team, which had turned a corner with their performance and outlook during the Asia Cup. His sudden departure will be a critical break in continuity for a team notorious for its unpredictability.

As they have shown in both the micro - after a break for drinks, lunch or tea - and macro - change of coach or captain - Bangladesh's cricketers take time to get back into the groove after a significant event. The start under Law was poor, with losses in Zimbabwe and against West Indies and Pakistan, but Bangladesh hit form in the Asia Cup. Their dedication to the cause and their team spirit was praised by those outside and inside the dressing-room.

Law was blessed, in some ways, with a combination of cricketers who are more talented than any in Bangladesh's history. Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal are products of the Siddons-era, but Shakib, despite losing captaincy, has risen to prominence as a world-class allrounder and Tamim has been on the road to recovery over the past two years. Mushfiqur Rahim, who was made captain after Shakib was sacked in mid 2011, has also made his mark as a finisher, and Nasir Hossain made a impressive start in international cricket.

In Law's first Test as coach, former captain Mohammad Ashraful, who was battling for form, struck an important half-century. He was then given an extended run despite falling into his characteristic dip right after that Zimbabwe Test. Ashraful said Law liked to give players confidence without tinkering with how they play. "I have seen him work and he didn't really want us to change techniques," Ashraful told ESPNcricinfo. "He wanted to give players assurance with what they have.

"He was getting to know the players though he didn't get a lot of time to work with everyone properly. Before the Zimbabwe series he only got two days and even later he didn't get much time But he made a difference, as was seen during the Asia Cup."

A nine-month stint is too short to pass judgement on but Law had more success in the same time period than the two previous coaches. Dav Whatmore, who took charge in 2003, only won a single one-day international in his first nine months, while Jamie Siddons oversaw four wins against weaker teams but had poor results against the stronger ones.

However, while Law thrived on bringing a cluster of performing cricketers together to form a core group, the team's biggest stars, Shakib and Tamim, did not have the greatest relationship with him.

In Zimbabwe, there was an alleged spat between Tamim and Law in his first match as coach. After Bangladesh beat India in the Asia Cup, Law wanted to remind the senior players to keep learning. He said: "If you think you've got it, it will come back and bite you in the backside. It's got that wonderful knack of doing that."

On the day he resigned, Law again reminded Bangladesh that they must have everyone performing, and not just one or two players, to move forward. "I am a firm believer that you do have your outstanding performers in the team but they can't be the ones you rely on all the time. At some stage they're going to come up short so that's when the other players should be ready to take the bull by the horns.

"As great a player Shakib is, I didn't want him to be the only player making all the contributions. Shakib and Tamim are the marquee players but the other players have stuck their hand up so that's what you want to see."

Law also saw the darker sides of cricket administration in Bangladesh, when the board suddenly sacked Shakib as captain and took its own time to name a successor, even holding a warm-up tournament to determine whether Mushfiqur Rahim or Mahmudullah was the better choice. There were selection issues before every series with the matter coming to a head when Akram Khan resigned ahead of the Asia Cup. While insisting his departure was for family reasons, Law was gracious enough not to find fault with the BCB.

However, former captain Khaled Mashud said the board must look into the reasons behind Law's departure. "He [Law] has a personal problem, as he has told us, but the board should dig deep. There should be an inquiry so that the next man doesn't have the same problems he had," Mashud said. "His performance was better towards the end of his short tenure but he seemed like a good coach, listened to the players as much as he talked to them. It will be a big loss."

Law's approach to coaching Bangladesh was to take a backseat and not take the lead like Whatmore or Siddons did. With a team containing two stars, a captain and a few more performers, it was important for the coach to let it function on its own. He will always be remembered for sitting in the dugout when Bangladesh took the Asia Cup by storm.

Ashraful was of the opinion that Law's successor should be a high profile coach. "We are still the No. 9 team in the world so there is an effect of what he [a coach] says. The coach also has to be a good motivator."

ESPNcricinfo has learned the BCB is already looking for a new coach and will put out a circular in the next three days with applicants from home and abroad. The likelihood of former Australia batsman Dean Jones, who said he had been contacted by the BCB, getting the job might not be popular with some players after Jones' stint with Chittagong Kings in the Bangladesh Premier League.

Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mohsin on April 18, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    I don't think it was Law who overhauled the team overnight- it's his luck he got the team with everyone in form and involved like Dhoni/Kirsten got in the world cup. So not that much hard feelings and Dean Jones shud never be coach of BD, he's like Greg Chappell version and more harsh. Look for maybe Ian Pont or Mohsin Khan

  • Zaccharia on April 18, 2012, 16:31 GMT

    There's scarcely a better developer of talent than Rod Marsh--look what he did for the Australian academy early on and then at England. Dunno if he's available.

  • Jo on April 18, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bully an ordinary reader

  • Dummy4 on April 18, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    I do not want to hurt BD fans but I have to say there is a lot of talk of team delivering etc. Agree that BD did well in Asia cup but it has come after a long long time. When you play for such a long time and then perfrom like this once and give all credit to coach then it does not makes sense. It is simple law of averages. BD should not make much fuss over law and focus on being consistent. They have some exciting players and they should first try and win a home series against a stong side (in top 5) in ODIs. Tests, BD has a long way to go. Some of the celebrations of BD players after beating India in Asia cup were over the moon and I could not understand why ? They need to win a series to celebrate like that. And yes then there will be a talk of BD winning overseas which is again a long shot as of now.

  • Manesh on April 18, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    ordinary team and ordinary issues!

  • Jo on April 18, 2012, 10:25 GMT

    GANGULY to coach Bangladesh!!!!

  • Tim on April 18, 2012, 7:17 GMT

    Dean Jones would actually do a good job. He's very knowledgeable and would be great for the batsmen with their technique and work ethic. However the players would need to accept him because he is outspoken and hasn't always rubbed everyone the right way. If he keeps his ego in check and the players get behind him then Jones could lead Bangladesh to great things.

  • muralitharan on April 18, 2012, 3:05 GMT

    Tigers are going to become CATS..........

  • Faisal Mashood on April 17, 2012, 21:16 GMT

    lol lol lol.. that is one funny headline.

  • Ravi on April 17, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    Yo Muhammad Hamza!

    It's rule man. Pretty sure.....From a Belizean. Lol

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