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Bangladesh fielding coach hopeful of England tour

Richard Halsall felt that if the England series does go ahead as planned, Bangladesh would hold the advantage on account of being fresher and having all their bases covered Getty Images/ICC

Bangladesh's fielding coach Richard Halsall has said that he feels safe working in Bangladesh and is hopeful of England's arrival on September 30 for a tour comprising three ODIs and two Tests. Halsall, the former England fielding coach, said that although the security situation in the country has improved, England will look into it themselves before taking a decision.

Halsall returned to Dhaka on Friday evening, the first of the team's foreign coaching staff to return after the terror attack in the Bangladesh capital on July 1. Mario Villavarayan, the strength and conditioning coach, came on Saturday, while head coach Chandika Hathurusingha is scheduled to arrive on Sunday evening.

There have been questions about England's visit to Bangladesh. Eoin Morgan, the captain, had admitted to big concerns over the side's security. Morgan had suggested neutral venues may be "feasible if it came to that", but Nizamuddin Chowdhury, BCB's chief executive, rejected any talk of playing Bangladesh at a neutral venue.

"I am hopeful that the tour will take place," Halsall said. "England are, I think, committed to playing cricket all over the world. Their Under-19s were here for the World Cup, but, maybe, the security situation in Bangladesh is better now because awareness of the situation is heightened. I think people are bit more honest about the threat level and there's no denial that there's a threat. But that exists here and everywhere.

"Being honest about there being a threat is the first step to dealing with it. You have got to get on with it. It is my job to coach, and for England to assess whether it is safe here for their players. I think it is safe to be here. But it is up to them to decide whether it is safe for the team to come. Obviously, it is a different situation for a team. But I really hope that they do come. We need to play some international cricket."

Halsall talked about his own experience, having been in London during the 2005 bombings and also with the England team days before the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008. Halsall said that he would have returned to Dhaka to continue his work, but the BCB had made the situation easier for him.

"What has happened is not an incident, it is an atrocity. But they happen all over the world, in Belgium, France, Germany," Halsall said. "I happened to be in London when it was under attack. I was in India when the Taj [Mahal Hotel, Mumbai] was attacked. We had only just left the Taj a week earlier. The world we live in, nowadays, these things do happen. And it is tragic for people involved. So my thoughts are with those people who have been murdered.

"Obviously, you have to take stock of the situation. It was always my intention to come back. I am a professional, and my job is to coach. The BCB has been very kind to me. The sensible thing to do after the attack was to let everything calm down. We didn't have any international cricket at the time. Let the BCB take stock of exactly what they should be doing.

"I think things probably calmed down, but it doesn't mean things aren't going to happen, but that's the same in England, America, Australia, France, Germany. We just have to be sensible, work with the right people. Be honest about the threat level and work towards a more peaceful environment," he said.

When asked if Bangladesh would have trouble returning to cricket after a long break from international cricket, in case the series is held as scheduled, Halsall said that the team would have an advantage over England on account of being fresher.

"We have two months to prepare for the series, so you can do everything you want to do," he said. "You can set exact workloads for your bowlers, you can practice all the bowlers you're going to face, you can be fresh and hungry. Or, if you want to pitch it in a negative way, we won't be battle-hardened.

"But the English are going to be shattered because they just played seven Tests in three months. Their ODIs are going to be over in September. So are they going to be able to bring their best players? They have five Tests against India after they play us. You can pitch it any way you want to, but our players are going to be ready for the first ODI. We have to see it as an advantage."

England are scheduled to play three ODIs, two Tests and three practice matches on their tour of Bangladesh. The ODIs are scheduled to start from October 7, while the two-Test series is slated to begin from October 20.