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Patience key in thriving in Zimbabwe condition: coach Russell Domingo

Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo urged his cricketers to be patient with batting and bowling in a bid to bring the best result in the solitary Test against Zimbabwe, slated to be held on July 7-11 at Harare Sports Club.

From what Domingo has seen that the Harare condition is no easier one to conquer, specially the team coming from abroad and so the players have to be very disciplined whether it is in batting or bowling.

“I think when playing in Harare, patience is very important with bat and ball,” Domingo, a South African, which is a neighbouring country of Zimbabwe, said in a video message sent by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) today.

“I have been here a few times and scoring rates haven’t been very high. You have to maintain pressure for long periods of time before getting wickets. It is definitely not a venue where you run through a batting line-up, or score 350 runs in a day. It is hard attritional cricket. They play smart cricket here. We will have our cut out in the next few days.”

Bangladesh however had a first-hand experience of how tougher the Harare condition could be. In their last series here in Zimbabwe, Bangladesh simply was crushed by Zimbabwe by 335 runs in the first Test here before winning the second one by 143 runs. Zimbabwe were no longer a force to reckon with during that period.

“We have to be patient, disciplined and hold on to the chances which might not come around often. When they do come, we have to be mentally ready to take those chances,” Domingo added.

Bangladesh in fact want to end their win draught in longer version format this year, winning the solitary Test against Zimbabwe. In the past four Tests in this year that they played, they lost three, including two against West Indies at their own backyard. The Tigers drew a Test in Sri Lanka against Lankan, which is their best result so far in this year in this format.

But Domingo said they are in process and when the things go right, they will start winning the Test matches.

“We are aware that results are always very important. We need to start winning some Test matches. But we also need to make sure we keep focusing on our preparation, processes, mindsets and skills going into the Test match,” The South African born coach said.

“I thought even though we lost against the West Indies we actually played some good cricket. Although we lost against Sri Lanka, there were many positive signs to come from that. We are a team that wants to focus very much on the process. If we can focus on our performances, and the brand of cricket we are playing, doing the basics well, hopefully the results will come our way,” he opined.

One of the positives for Bangladesh was the form of Shakib Al Hasan who did well in both batting and bowling in the two-day warm-up game. Domingo said Shakib is always a boost for the team.

“Shakib looks really hungry to play Tests again. The thing that’s always the key with big players is their desire and attitude when they come into a Test series. It is great to have him back. He balances the side really well. He bats in the top six, and he is a frontline bowler. He is what every international team is looking for, so it is really pleasing to have him back. He has brought really good energy and attitude on this tour, as well,” he said of Shakib.

In Zimbabwe conditions, Domingo believes the fast bowlers would have to play a key role. And he refused to give up the hopes on the pacers, even though they didn’t do anything amazing in this format as of now.

“I have been very happy with the progress the fast bowlers have made. They have worked so hard. They never shy to put in the hard yards. They deserve some success. The results haven’t always come for them. Whilst they might be inexperienced in the number of Tests they have played, they have worked really hard at this. They have improved massively in the last 18 months in their understanding of fast bowling, skill-set, endurance. I don’t think it’s too far away when a fast bowler wins us a Test match in tough conditions,” he added.

While Domingo is confident that Mushfiqur Rahim, who is nursing his finger injury, will play the first Test, he is somewhat doubtful about Tamim Iqbal’s participation. Tamim, though batted in the second innings of the warm-up game, is nursing a knee injury.

“Mushfiq is pretty confident that he will be fit to play. He has done his rehab really well. Everything seems to be on track. I am pretty confident that he will be playing,” he said,

“We are still not 100 per cent sure about Tamim. There’s still a lot of doubt regarding him. I think a decision will be made in the near future.”