Halsall wants Bangladesh to shake off big-stage pressure
Bangladesh fielding coach Richard Halsall has asked the players to enjoy their time in the field and not get bogged down by the big stage they have to perform on. Against Sri Lanka in Melbourne, their three dropped catches highlighted a substandard fielding display which ultimately had a major bearing on their 92-run loss.
Halsall, the former England fielding coach, said that the younger Bangladesh players are weighed down by their duty. They should instead take inspiration from the senior players and learn how they can bounce back quickly.
"We have some very talented cricketers. People respond differently to pressure," Halsall said. "You saw in the Afghanistan game how well the team fielded. Throughout the Zimbabwe series they did exceptional fielding. I think they were probably shocked they didn't produce the standard of performance they are used to, over recent times. They couldn't believe Bijoy [Anamul Haque] dropped one, because he catches flies most of the time. Partly shock, partly disappointment.
"We had some talks today which were very productive. You engage the senior players who have a wealth of experience. They ask them what should be done. They can really help each other. So we are trying to encourage them to be 11 players on the field. Everyone is watching Bangladesh when they are out there.
"We have reminded them that there are 10 team-mates of yours who will help you. Hopefully it makes you smile. We have reminded the players that they can be excited, they don't have to be worried all the time. It is a massive privilege but they do have to enjoy it sometimes. Some of the younger ones get burdened by the responsibility."
Halsall said that the fielding disappointed him, but more disappointing was the players' body language after they had dropped a catch or misfielded. Anamul dropped a simple chance at slip offered by Lahiru Thirimanne, who was also given a life when Mushfiqur Rahim missed a stumping. Taskin Ahmed spilled a caught and bowled chance of Kumar Sangakkara, who was later dropped by Mominul Haque at point.
In between, the Bangladesh fielders struggled to contain the runs in the large MCG outfield, often giving away a second or a third run due to a slow throw. Anamul in particular had a terrible day, letting a boundary go through his legs at cover and missing the stumps with both batsmen at the middle of the pitch. In their first outing at the MCG, the Bangladesh players certainly looked out of place.
"I was very disappointed. As the captain said, the fielding contributed in losing the game," Halsall said. "We created opportunities but we didn't take them. It happens in every game, and we have seen that in the World Cup. It is how you conduct yourself after missing opportunities. Ideally they would have got 305-310 instead of 330.
"It is how you respond to adverse situations that was disappointing, not the dropped catches. People drop catches, miss run outs but how we responded, our body language was poor. The players admit that. It was a big stage."
Halsall also said that the players may be lacking in awareness about the tempo of a match, and that's where he and the other coaches are trying to help them.
"Maybe some players aren't aware of what they have to do, when it is not going our way, when they haven't got the momentum. How they have to get the momentum back; So that's where the coaches can help because we have the experience of international cricket.
Halsall stated that the Scotland game on March 5 is what the Bangladesh team is thinking about having moved past the bad day in Melbourne. "The boys are very excited about this [Scotland] game, they are responding very well," he said. "I think they are desperate to play a very big game for Bangladesh. The great thing is we win two out of the next three games, we are through to the quarter-finals. So they are genuinely excited."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84