Saturday, September 23, 2023

Sakib’s sacking surprises Law

Bangladesh coach Stuart Law said he was surprised to see Sakib al Hasan being sacked as captain but hoped the decision would not hamper progress of the national team. Speaking to reporters at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Thursday after the first practice session of the Tigers ahead of the home series against West Indies, Law also defended his decision of requesting head of delegation Shafiqur Rahman and visiting selector Habibul Bashar to leave the dressing room during the Zimbabwe tour. Law, who arrived in Dhaka on Wednesday, also cleared the smoke about a reported argument between him and now deposed vice-captain Tamim Iqbal over a training session in Zimbabwe. Here are the excerpts of his conversation with reporters.
Q: Were you consulted before removing the captain?
Law: Look, I wasn’t consulted because I was on leave. Probably I was not contactable at the time. The board has made a decision not just for what had happened in Zimbabwe but from what I understand some other ongoing situations. They have made a decision and we just got to get on with it and play good cricket.
Q: When did you hear the news?
Law: I read it on e-mail a couple of days ago.
Q: What was your reaction?
Law: I was a bit surprised. It is pretty difficult to see one’s own reaction but inside I knew that I was very surprised by the news.
Q: How was the dressing room environment in Zimbabwe?
Law: I have observed it’s no different to any other dressing room that I have been involved. The captain and the vice-captain are the leaders of the group. They had the respect of the players and they did share their respect as well. From what you guys were told or what’s been reported it’s far from truth from what’s going on inside the dressing room. What I have seen is that they are a disciplined bunch of boys. They enjoyed good time but they were allowed to and it’s part of growing up. We are dealing with some young men in the dressing room and they got to be given their chance to grow as well. Yes, we didn’t perform well in Zimbabwe but it steadily improved. We got two youngsters who came in and did a great job. There are a lot of positive things that came out of the dressing room. The feeling since I have been involved with the team the dressing room atmosphere has always been good.
Q: What about the head of delegation’s complaint about not letting them enter the dressing room?
Law: I did not have so many problems with it. I just saw the players’ reaction when things have been said and look I am different obviously to a lot of things. This is the first time I have seen the head of delegation and the selector being in the dressing room for every part of the game and every minute of the day. It’s new. I just believe that the players need some sanctuary to get away and the dressing room is their sanctuary. In the hotel we are surrounded by press. At the dressing room when we get there we were surrounded by other pressures other than what we had to deal with. Players just need to have that little bit of space just to get away with what is actually happening so that they can gather their thought and start planning, so that they can go and  play better cricket. It’s been unfair for anybody.
Q: Did the players tell you to request them not to enter into the dressing room?
Law: It wasn’t the fact that the players have come and told me that you got to get them out. It wasn’t that. I observed what was going on. I spoke to the players and they said ‘look, if you can get them out maybe it will be better for us’. It was never a fact that someone came to me and said that mate they must go. It was a group decision and I have got nothing against the guys inside the dressing room. They have got nothing but the best interest of the players at heart and they just wanted the boys to play good cricket not quite realising that their presence in the dressing room was putting a lot of pressure on them.
Q: It was reported that the players misbehaved with you in the dressing room. Is it true?
Law: I am not aware that the players were bad with me.
Q: Is it true that Tamim Iqbal had an altercation with you regarding the practice.
Law: It was a dressing room talk and there was no malice. We just had a conversation and it was done and dusted within a very short time.
Q: Don’t you think it’s unusual to change the captain and the vice-captain at the same time?
Law: To be honest in international cricket anything can be tried with injuries and certain decision that has been made can be better for the players as well. At any stage you can change a captain and a vice-captain. I don’t think it’s going to interrupt the progression of the team. You know the new guy who comes in will have the full support of the dressing room.
Q: Do you think you have got the chance to start a new journey with a new captain?
Law: You can look it that way, but with Sakib we could learn a lot as the partnership progresses which had already started. Now we have to start again so you can look at it that way as well. In cricket field basically they run themselves. The captain makes the decision but very rarely the captain is the one who makes the decision all by himself. He will consult his playing partners out there. So that will still be the same, the new guy will ask for a lot of advice and it will be great to have a guy like Sakib in the locker room for the new captain to ask for advice while  on the field and that is going to be a positive.
Q: Have you seen anyone with the captaincy material?
Law: There is a lot of good players and a lot of good cricket minds and with lot of passion for the game and for the country. I think you can choose any one from the six people to do that job.
Q: How do you rate Sakib as a captain?
Law: Look, what he has done…his performance has improved and only good players can do so because it’s a tremendous pressure. Specially now being here this probably is the biggest pressure cooker out for a captain in world cricket. After captaincy he took it on and has done a very good job.
Q: Your advice for Sakib?
Law: Enjoy. Enjoy not having to deal with this [press] every five minutes. Enjoy the release of pressure. Go and play even better cricket. That’s what I am going to say to him…just think of it as a great thing. For some people this [captaincy] becomes a burden to have this thrust upon them. Now he is free to play cricket and not have to be scrutinised for everything. It can work that way and it can be positive for him.
Q: Are you embarrassed with the overall situation?
Law: It’s not an embarrassment for me. I am here to make the boys play better cricketer. Let the cricket board do the hiring and firing.


Courtesy of New Age

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