Craig McMillan: Developing relationship with Bangladesh players my first aim
Bangladesh's new batting consultant will be wary of making wholesale changes
Craig McMillan has said that in his new role as Bangladesh's batting consultant he would look to build relationships with the players rather than making wholesale changes. McMillan, who was appointed on Bangladesh's support staff last week for the upcoming three-match Test series against Sri Lanka, will be joining the squad next month during the tour's preparatory phase.
McMillan, who was New Zealand's batting coach for five years until the 2019 World Cup, said that he would focus on helping batsmen make good decisions for longer periods to bring them success in Tests.
"One of the first things that I have to do is develop a relationship with the players," McMillan told ESPNcricinfo. "I am really looking forward to doing that. I know a few players through New Zealand playing against Bangladesh but not that well. I certainly won't be coming in and changing any techniques. It won't be the first thing I do. It will be more about just adding little things to their game plans, and adding those things that will bring success.
"I certainly believe that quality Test match batting is about having a solid defence first and foremost, one that you trust and believe in, and then the ability to make good decisions for a long period of time. So if you can do that, you can get in the battle with the bowler and playing the right shots at the right time is key to being successful in Test match cricket."
McMillan said that Bangladesh's three-week training camp, likely to start in Colombo at the end of September, is necessary given the large amount of time that the players had been out of action due to the pandemic. He said that playing a three-match Test series, Bangladesh's first in six years, is going to be a "great opportunity" for the team.
"It has been a quiet time in cricket being played all over the world, so it is exciting to have a tour coming up," he said. "Three Test matches is a great opportunity for the Bangladesh side.
"I think it's an excellent idea by the BCB to have a good three-week preparation getting into that [first] Test match. So much downtime and not a lot of cricket being played in the last six or seven months, I think the preparation is going to be important heading into the Sri Lanka series."
McMillan said that Russell Domingo, Bangladesh's head coach, called him up about the role, and after a bit of thought, he decided to take up the position. He is, however, going to be available only for the Sri Lanka tour, and he said that anything beyond that will require further discussion.
"It caught me a little bit by surprise," McMillan recalled. "I got a call from Russell Domingo, and after I had a week to think about it, I was excited by and looking forward to the challenge. It was one of those things that I wasn't expecting throughout these times. There isn't a lot of cricket being played at the moment but once the opportunity came, I decided to take it. I am really excited to be working with the team and coaching staff.
"I am not looking any further than the Sri Lanka tour at the moment. I am really looking forward to working with the players, finding out what makes them tick and developing relationships with them. I think it will be key.
"I am also excited to be working alongside Russell Domingo who is vastly experienced, and other coaching staff. We will see how this tour goes and then have further discussions and see where it leads."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84