It has been two years since West Indies legend Courtney Walsh was appointed as the Tigers' bowling coach. Although expectations were sky high since his arrival, the reality is something quite different. Bangladesh are yet to get a settled fast bowling line-up as not many new faces made their mark in the big leagues in the fast bowling department, where an experienced Mashrafe Bin Mortaza still dictates.
Questions were raised about whether there is a lack of hunger among the youngsters but according to Walsh, the youths need to be provided with more opportunities to showcase their talent, which has not been the case so far.
“That is still a work in progress where a lot of youngsters are coming through but if they don't get a chance to play you don't know how they perform. That's the one thing I think we probably need to look at more and not get too afraid to give them chances.
“If you keep them waiting and keep them in the wings, they won't get a chance to play. And the more you play the better your chances to learn. Sometimes we need to give the youngsters a chance to see what they can do but if you keep protecting them, saying that they are not ready, they'll never improve,” Walsh told reporters at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
However, the 55-year-old added that the youngsters are keen to learn but it all comes down to them getting the opportunity to express themselves.
While evaluating his two year tenure with the Tigers, Walsh pressed on the issue of not having enough Test matches as a key factor behind the lack of fast bowlers.
When asked what separates Mashrafe from the others, Walsh informed that it is his pride in performing and improving everyday combined with his hunger that made him a high class fast bowler for Bangladesh over the years.
“Mashrafe's experience and set of skills is much better than the other guys and his experience is what he is carrying. But I think if he hadn't been injured, he would have played Test cricket. But maybe because of his knee issue he hasn't been able to play all the formats. However, he has remained a high class fast bowler for Bangladesh over the years. I think he wants to do it as well as he can and it's up to the youngsters to have that same hunger. We can only do so much as a coach from the background but it's the youngsters who also have to want to perform. Mash [Mashrafe] takes pride in his performance and I think it's the big difference he shows he wants to perform, he wants to compete and that's what we need,” Walsh said.
The Jamaican then mentioned that Mustafizur Rahman is a special talent and informed that a fit Mustafizur always provides an extra edge to the side. There were questions whether the left arm seamer needs to manage his workload as he often gets injured but Walsh denied that fact and said that he would rather work on Mustafizur's skills.
Walsh also added that he has already started working with the bowlers on their consistency and execution in different conditions, keeping next year's ICC World Cup in England in mind.