|| CF CORRESPONDENT ||
Stuart Law, the former coach of the Bangladesh national cricket team, has taken on the role of head coach for the under-19 team. Under his guidance, the young cricketers of Bangladesh recently won the Asia Cup. In a recent interview with Cricfrenzy, Law discussed the victory and his experience coaching the U-19 team.
Cricfrenzy: U-19 team won the Asia Cup just before the World Cup, what do you want to say about their performance?
Stuart Law: Look, the U-19 World Cup is in a few days. That is our main goal. But it's great to win a trophy before going to a tournament like this. Credit to the boys for that. Even though the boys are young, they have done a great job at this age. They must be praised. They have worked very hard in the last 18 months. They all tried to do it constantly. The way we won the tournament was unbelievable.
We are now undefeated champions. This is not a joke. I think the way we won against Sri Lanka and India was great. This win boosted the confidence of the boys. When you win a title by performing like that, you feel proud as a coach. As a coach, I can say that the future of Bangladesh cricket is on the right track and safe.
Cricfrenzy: You have worked with the Bangladesh national team. Bangladesh reached the final of the Asia Cup under your guidance. But this time he won the trophy for the first time. Great thing for you as a coach surely?
Stuart Law: You always feel good when you win a trophy. Be it as a coach or as a player. Yes, we played in the Asia Cup final in 2012. But we were very unlucky in that match. We didn't win because of little service. I also worked with the youth team. But we couldn't. But won this time. Although the Asia Cup feels good.
Cricfrenzy: You said the win against India boosted the confidence of the boys. What was the message for the boys ahead of such a high-voltage match?
Stuart Law: Look, everybody probably watches the game on the field. But there is actually a game outside the field. You have to improve everywhere together. Follow a process and plan to move forward. There are different stages of the game, everyone has to understand it gradually. But for our boys it happened very quickly. They all understood their roles.
India is always the big team in any tournament. Their success speaks for them. My biggest weapon against India was our pacers. The advantage is that we have three very talented pacers in our team. They actually made our job easier. They (India) play good spin so we wanted to attack with pace. It also worked.
Cricfrenzy: Some were saying he could bowl at 140 kmph. Surely they gave hope to Bangladesh?
Stuart Law: We have two pacers in this team. I believe if they play to their potential they will bowl at 140 kmph at some point. They are bowling at 140 right now. To keep it up and get better, you have to follow a process. It is also the responsibility of the board to monitor them.
Cricfrenzy: How about Rizwan? His batting is also good enough with pace bowling. Is he a big asset for Bangladesh?
Stuart Law: Yes, Rizwan is very talented. He batted at three and also bowled pace. Earlier he used to bowl medium pace. But we are now working on increasing speed. He is a great asset for BCB. Bangladesh does not get this kind of cricketer easily. His batting is also very effective. Bangladesh is looking for a cricketer who has these attributes. The boy can be a great asset to Bangladesh in the future.
Shibli should be mentioned separately. He was the number three wicketkeeper in our team. But when the wicketkeeping coach came he changed completely. He's had his bad times, even dropped a time. He returned to the team again. I found him different when he returned to the team. Ariful has the potential to become one of the best in Bangladesh. But he has to believe it. In my eyes, he is the next special talent of Bangladesh.
Cricfrenzy: Bangladesh are looking for a cricketer like Rizwan. Bangladesh is also looking for a leg spinner. Do you think Wasi can fulfill that?
Stuart Law: Wasi is a hard worker. He has improved and worked hard for it. There is no leg spinner in Bangladesh. I think he has that ability to play at the big stage. But Bangladesh also needs to understand how to take care of a leg spinner. He has a bright future. He played one match in the Asia Cup but got three wickets. It's great when a leg spinner gets you three wickets. What more can you ask for in Bangladesh?
Cricfrenzy: Now on to another topic. Ahrar Amin being the captain had defeated Pakistan, Sri Lanka. However, the captain changed before the Asia Cup. What is the reason for this?
Stuart Law: Look, the change of captain surprised me a bit too. But now it seems that the board has finally taken the right decision. Rabbi did a great job with the boys. But we won the series in the UAE under Ahrar, beat Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, and even beat Pakistan on their home soil. Yet those associated with it may have felt the need for a change in leadership.
That is why the Ahrar was removed and the Rabbi was given the responsibility. I think the Rabbi picked up the group from where Ahrar left it. I am satisfied with the way the team played throughout the tournament. We became champions by playing against good teams. And Rabbi also did well as captain.
Cricfrenzy: It's probably not possible to say that your team did very well in the four-match series in India. However, they won all the matches and became the champion of the Asia Cup. What is the magic of sudden success?
Stuart Law: Look, a series can go bad. The boys did well in their own process despite not doing well in India. The proof of that may be our victory against India in the Asia Cup. You always want to win but you think you can win every match? We had a hunger to win, the boys played with that hunger. The result is now in front of everyone. No one expected us to win the match by holding on to the opponent like this. Still, we have a lot of room for improvement, the players know that.
Cricfrenzy: So are you implementing anything new before the World Cup?
Stuart Law: We just won the trophy. I don't think there is a need to apply anything new. I am not interested in making any changes. The boys are enjoying their Asia Cup win. After that will play BCL, camp in the country. We have to fix the details during this period. I believe we will be able to prove our capabilities on the world stage.
Cricfrenzy: The Asia Cup win has raised expectations for the World Cup. It is an additional pressure for everyone. How to handle?
Stuart Law: The boys did their job on the field. Now the rest is completely mine. It's actually I have to make sure the boys are stress-free. I have to find a way for that. When you do well, everyone will have high hopes for you. This is more common in the subcontinent. I think you also have high expectations for this team now that the World Cup is ahead.
They must play the semi-final or they will play the final. Will become a champion again. I made it clear to the boys that winning is not important, the process is the real thing. I told the boys to get it in their heads. We don't talk about winning, we talk about process. How to do well as a team is our main goal.
Cricfrenzy: Still, you'll surely want Bangladesh to win the U-19 World Cup again?
Stuart Law: When you play in the World Cup, you dream of winning the trophy. I have said before that we have to follow the process. If we have to play good cricket then everyone will consider us as a tough opponent. We beat India in the Asia Cup. Our first match is against them in the World Cup. So Bangladesh can dream of winning the World Cup one more time, but the boys have to do the work on the field.
Cricfrenzy: BCB congratulated the boys, the board president also met the boys. how do you feel?
Stuart Law: When you're successful, people are talking about you, that's normal. I believe that the boys will bring more success in the future so that the whole country will follow them. Thanks to BCB. The board president met the boys. They will definitely gain confidence. I really like the way BCB has treated them. I am with family so I could not attend the event. But the amount of happiness I saw in the boys was a joy to me.