It was quite a sensation when Courtney Walsh was appointed by the Bangladesh Cricket Board as the pace bowling coach of the national cricket team in September 2016. It was inspiring for the Bangladesh boys to have the Caribbean legend, one the world’s highest wicket taker, in their midst. But while his arrival had been quite sensational, his departure was an unobtrusive one. He slipped away quietly after his contract ended following the 2019 World Cup. After his Bangladesh chapter, he was the bowling coach for the West Indies women’s team for some time. On Thursday night, Walsh spoke in an exclusive interview with Prothom Alo about this three-year stint in Bangladesh.
How are you enjoying the England-West Indies test?
It’s good to see cricket back playing and I am very happy with the first test result.
How do you see the current Windies fast bowling group? Looks like they are getting back that aggressive fast bowling attitude?
It’s very good to see the quality depth and potential that's there and they will get better with more games. And good aggression has been shown.
You worked with the Bangladesh boys till the last World Cup. We didn’t get that chance to bid you a proper goodbye. How was that experience for you, working here in Bangladesh? Did you enjoy it or did you have a bitter experience?Would you share your most enjoyable experience working with Bangladesh?
It was a tremendous experience and opportunity for me to have worked with the Bangladesh team. Sorry I was not able to say a proper goodbye to the fans and supporters. The only bitter experience was the lack of communication from those who has the power to do so. One can plan for the players’ improvement and not just wait on big events like the World Cup, the Asia Cup or the Champions Trophy.
Would you share your most enjoyable experience working with Bangladesh?
Test match wins against England (2016) and Australia (2017), our performance in the Champions Trophy (2017) and the trophies we won. The respect shown to me by most of the players, meeting the S&C coach Mario who I can call my brother, and a few players who to date are like family as they looked after me when I was there and made me feel so welcome.
What was the biggest problem you had to face during your time here?
It was lack of communication, as I mentioned previously. So I could not get to do stuff that I would have wanted to do.
Any name you want to share, like who do you think is going to be a good pacer along the way? Who in your knowledge has that talent?
No answer as I don't like calling names.
Language had been an issue with the players. Do you think that had some effect on your job?
At the beginning, yes, as I thought they all understood me... lol! But we got better over time.
If Bangladesh did better with the new ball in the 2019 World Cup, do you think you would still continue the job? Or you had other ideas about your future?
My bags were packed and sent home just before the New Zealand tour (January 2019) following a request to do some work with the fast bowlers during the West Indies tour of Bangladesh (2018 Nov-Dec). Before we went to New Zealand (January 2019) the powers that be did not see it fit to reply and in my estimation the bowlers were not given the chance to be better prepared.
How do you assess captain Mashrafe's performance in the last World Cup?
Captain Mashrafe did not perform as we all know in the World Cup. And the warrior that he is, he would be the first to admit that he was below par.
Now another Caribbean bowling coach, Ottis Gibson, is working for Bangladesh. How hopeful are you about him?
Otis is a very good coach and if the powers that be give him a chance I am sure he will do well with the talent that's there in Bangladesh fast bowlers.