Jurgensen ready for Rangpur juggling act
Shane Jurgensen has said that his experience as Bangladesh's head coach will give him a slender edge in working with the Rangpur Riders in the BPL. He is also relishing the prospect of his first assignment in guiding a T20 franchise team which is tipped to be the strongest on paper in this season's tournament.
"I think it will be a slight advantage [with my previous experience in Bangladesh] but every team will be well-prepared," Jurgensen said. "We will have to make sure that we don't take our foot off the pedal. We have to make all the 240 balls count.
"It is a good opportunity for me to get into T20 cricket. I am pretty excited. I have never really done something like this in a franchise set-up. It is a new thing for me. It is a good test for my coaching ability to get along with the players, to have a good time in a team environment. I like what I am seeing. Everything is well organised off the field, so everything has gone well so far."
Jurgensen said that his role in Fiji, where he worked after leaving Bangladesh in April 2014, was that of an allrounder in terms of coaching all the representative sides on the island. He said that the hands-on role has added to his repertoire as a coach.
"I have taken up a role where I do a lot of stuff off the field, apart from coaching. It has been good for me personally, to tap into other areas like budget, planning and lot more of other stuff.
"In Fiji, it is me and me only. So I am coaching in a lot of different areas of the game. I am coaching a lot more fielding, batting and bowling. It has helped my coaching. I have to be more hands-on," he said.
It is a totally different story now for Jurgensen, who is in charge of a team that boasts the topmost catch among the local players - Shakib Al Hasan - as well as having Darren Sammy, Misbah-Ul-Haq, Thisara Perera, Lendl Simmons, Sachitra Senanayake, Mohammad Nabi and Wahab Riaz as their seven foreign players.
He said that it would be an interesting task to pick the four foreign players allowed in the playing XI but what is more challenging to him is to pick the seven locals from the rest of his squad who are training in Mirpur for the last few days ahead of the BPL.
Soumya Sarkar was Rangpur's first pick in the BPL draft held last month while they also have Arafat Sunny, Mohammad Mithun and Jahurul Islam among Bangladesh internationals. Muktar Ali, Saqlain Sajib and Abu Jayed Chowdhury have just finished their assignment for Bangladesh A in Zimbabwe, so the likes of left-arm spinner Murad Khan, allrounders Rasel Al Mamun and Alok Kapali, Al Amin jnr and seamer Nazmul Hossain have been in training and Jurgensen is confident they will be ready.
"It is going to be the same for all the team. But all these [Rangpur] boys have been playing some form of cricket recently. Some of them have been in South Africa while some have been in Zimbabwe," he said. "The Sri Lankan and West Indian players have been playing too. They are all cricket-fit and they are experienced players now.
"It is an opportunity for the [local] guys who are training in Dhaka to put their best foot forward. We have four overseas players and seven local players so everyone will be pushing for spots. It is important at the moment that these guys have the best preparation possible while the other guys are playing."
He said that while Shakib's experience as a T20 player would be important for his team, he likes the balance of his team too.
"Shakib is obviously an integral part of the team. He is Bangladesh's most experienced T20 player and MVP in the last BPL. It is great to have him in the team and we have a good overall team too. The balance is pretty good.
"Our goal is to reach the final. I have come here to win. I think we have a well balanced team. We have to make sure to put all the potential we have on paper and execute accordingly."
Rangpur play the BPL opener against the Chittagong Vikings on November 22.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84