Published On: Thu, Jun 7th, 2018

Steve Rhodes takes over as Bangladesh coach

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Former England wicketkeeper Steve Rhodes took little time to accept his new job as Bangladesh’s head coach. Nizamuddin Chowdhury, the BCB’s chief executive, made initial contact in March, soon after Paul Farbrace had turned down the job in the last stages of their negotiation.

Eventually, after his name also featured in Gary Kirsten’s shortlist of head coaches, the BCB, earlier this week, asked Rhodes to appear for an interview in Dhaka. Having arrived on Thursday morning, the interview included a presentation in which Rhodes charted his plans for the Bangladesh team for the next two years.

Three hours later, the BCB president Nazmul Hassan made the announcement at his office in Dhaka with Rhodes standing next to him. The former Worcestershire coach said that he was proud to be offered the job as well as being recommended by Kirsten, in what will be his first stint as an international head coach. His contract will run until the end of the World T20 in 2020.

“I spoke with Nizam originally,” Rhodes said. “I am proud that Gary Kirsten, a very respected cricketing figure, put my name forward. The temptation straightaway was to say, ‘yes, of course’. It didn’t take long at all to show my interest to coach this wonderful country.”

Rhodes’ appointment ended the BCB’s search of a head coach that lasted seven months. During this time, Tom Moody, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Andy Flower, Justin Langer, Farbrace and Geoff Marsh turned down the Bangladesh job while Richard Pybus and Phil Simmons gave interviews in Dhaka in December but didn’t get a call back from the BCB.

Rhodes, therefore, is a slightly different choice than what Bangladesh were seeking at least for the first four months of their search. Rhodes is a well-known talent spotter in the county arena, having become a reputed coach in Worcestershire until his abrupt departure last year.

He said that while coaching would essentially remain similar for him, dealing with the workload in the international arena was going to be vastly higher. He hoped that his overall experience in cricket would help the Bangladesh team.

“I am very lucky to be involved in some of England’s preparations which include their tour to Bangladesh in 2016,” Rhodes said. “I have had a flavour of international coaching. There’s not a lot of difference in how you go about your coaching, but obviously the international programme is quite heavy.

“Trying to keep the boys up for the game isn’t easy to do. Ultimately, I feel as though I am qualified now. You can see I have grey hair, which tends to mean you’ve gone through hard times. Hopefully my experience will be of real value to the Bangladesh team.”

Rhodes also said that he had the energy to be the head coach in all formats. Last month, the BCB and Kirsten had both said that they were considering different coaches for red and white-ball cricket. “I don’t see it as a major problem at all. I know that Gary had initially thought along those lines. Lots of coaches do all formats. I am a very hard working person so I think I will have enough energy to cover all three formats well,” he said.

Rhodes further said that he would be building towards the 2019 World Cup over the next 12 months, with a target of getting Bangladesh to the final. “I just told the president and board members that Bangladesh did well in the Champions Trophy in England. They’ve proved they can play well in English conditions. To get to a semi-final in that competition was a marvelous effort by Bangladesh.

“If we can get to that stage or even further, I am now thinking along the lines of what a dream would be to see Bangladesh lined up for the final. It would be a fantastic occasion.”

Rhodes, who will turn 54 next week, played 11 Tests and nine ODIs and is known for his talent-spotting skills. He had been in charge of Worcestershire since 2006, having played for them from 1985 to 2004. However, he was sacked last year by the county and relieved of his duties as head coach of the England Under-19 squad just before the World Cup, after it emerged that he had failed to report the arrest of a young allrounder – Alex Hepburn – in a timely fashion.

Rhodes also oversaw the promotion of Worcestershire to Division One of the County Championship at the end of the 2017 season and had been recently made an England scout. His work with Worcestershire involved promoting a young and homegrown squad.



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