‘A’ team coach expects strong LionsStaff Correspondent
The touring Bangladesh A team can expect to face a tough England Lions side in their one-day series later this month, according to head coach Corey Richards.
‘The tour will definitely be a challenging one as the depth of English cricket at the moment is as good as it has been for a while and I expect them to pick a very strong team for the three England Lions games,’ Richards said on Sunday,
‘I also expect them to be very aggressive in the way that they approach playing against us.’
The national team’s batting and fielding coach also emphasised the importance of the tour on a developmental level, with sights set on future success in international cricket.
‘[The tour] is important for the continued development of our players. Touring England is a great experience and we will play some very competitive cricket in all of the eight games that we play.’
‘The conditions will be a little different than in Bangladesh,’ said Richards. ‘But if we want to become more consistent as an international cricket team then we must expose the players to as many foreign conditions as possible.
‘The targets [on the tour] are to try to win every game that we play, and that is the process that we are trying to bring to the team culture in Bangladesh, the belief that we can compete and beat anyone,’ he added.
Richards went further on the topic of development, stressing the importance of team fitness and pointing to the team’s training camp prior to its departure for England as a seminal moment in Bangladesh cricket history.
‘I believe that the training camp will be looked back on in a few years as a real turning point for Bangladesh cricket,’ he said, ‘The players openly admitted that they have never been subjected to the amount of fitness and strength work that we have introduced, and after some early apprehension, the squad has improved in all facets of their general approach to that side of things.
‘Most importantly the players themselves have seen a massive difference in their all-round fitness which has provided them with some great self-confidence and belief.’
He added that the players’ attitude towards improvement had impressed him and is a sign of better things for the national set-up.
‘The work ethic by some of the players has been fantastic and the captain, Mushfiqur Rahim, leads by example in that regard. As long as we have players that are always looking to improve then cricket is always going to be on the way up in Bangladesh.’
For his own part, Richards is relishing the chance to lead the side in England, with Tigers head coach Shane Jurgensen not traveling with the team.
‘I am enjoying the role and having the opportunity to have full ownership of a team. Shane and I work very closely together in regards to the national team but for this trip he has taken a step back and allowed me to take over for the tour which I am looking forward to.’
The Bangladesh A team play the first of their five one-day matches against county opposition on Tuesday, when they take on Hampshire in Southampton. The series with the England Lions begins on August 20 in Bristol.
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