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ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP

June 4, 2019

Steve Rhodes

Kennington, London, England, UK

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Q. The morale must be high on the team, but with the first win out of the way, I think would you say that New Zealand is the perfect -- coming in at the perfect time, having beaten South Africa?
STEVE RHODES: Yeah, I think first of all, whilst we were very happy with the victory over South Africa, we all recognised that that's just one game, and we've gotw another eight to go.

It was one we could tick off with a victory, but we didn't want to get too carried away, and we know the people back home are delighted and obviously jumping up and down with what we've done in beating South Africa.

But the team and the staff, they know that the task is going to be tough against some of these teams, and New Zealand are just one of those sides where they gave us a decent hiding this winter, and we're hopeful that we are in better shape. The answer is, we are in better shape, taking them on this time around.

But they are a tough opposition, like many of the top four or five teams in the world, and it will be difficult.

Q. The 2017 game, will that play in your mind?
STEVE RHODES: Yeah, I think it's good memories and all memories that are good are good for your confidence. A lot of them will be repeating that day.

Thankfully we've got quite a few players who were involved in that day, so they will share those memories with the other guys.

Q. You did have a training today, but hampered from the weather. How do you approach the match and how important is going to be the mental preparation?
STEVE RHODES: Well, when we have -- we needed to have a break yesterday. We had a tough game. As typical, in England, you cannot guarantee the weather. I think it was meant to be okay, but it's curtailed or frustrated us a little bit now with the wet weather around.

But thank goodness for Ireland. Thank goodness for going over to Ireland and playing some cricket and getting used to northern hemisphere conditions and that can goodness to the little camp we had in Leicester, as well as our preparation for the game.

So what I'm really meaning is if preparations weren't as good as they have been, then we would have been worried about a lot of cricket today. So we're not that worried.

Thankfully most of the boys are in reasonable nick, and mentally I think that's a good thing. If they know they are in good condition, they will be ready for the game tomorrow.

Q. When you joined Bangladesh, was this the start that you were looking for at the World Cup? Because your team is quite big on making starts, whether it's batting first or bowling first or a first game. Secondly what does a coach add to a team which is quite experienced right now. You have players who have played 200 matches, and you have a number of experienced players. What can you add to this setup?
STEVE RHODES: Okay. So I'll go the wrong way around. I'll go the second question first and then you'll remind me of the first question because I'll forget.

But secondly, yes, we've got some very experienced players in the dressing room who have played many international ODIs and have played many times in England. It would be wrong for me to dictate to those sort of players. You know, they know their game very, very well. They know international cricket very well.

So I'm here to support and enhance what they have got, make sure we stay on the right track, and have a little bit of English experience behind some of the suggestions. We are lucky. We've got a vastly experienced squad. Played many internationals and I'm happy for that.

I think the balance is good, and people keep telling me, I'm a novice as world events, cricket events, and they keep telling me that we need experience.

Well, we've got experience, and I think the mistake we could make, if we did make a mistake, it would be trying to dominate the experienced guys. Let's listen to what they have got to say. Let's pick their brains and make sure that we get every ounce of experience going into our decision-making and how we play and who we play.

Q. And about what you might have thought on the first day of your job.
STEVE RHODES: Okay. Yes. Well, the first day on tour was a 36-hole out, as everybody keeps mentioning, in a test match (Laughter).

No, I think it's been a really interesting year. I'm very happy with our cricket. It was very important for me not to change what we're doing a lot, really. I think we were starting to make some really good strides with white ball over 50-over cricket; and to have a new coach come in and try and dominate in a different fashion, well, that's not going to work.

So my role was to have a good look at what we were doing well, try and enhance that even more. But I think maybe the important thing what I've been trying to do with the team is to give them responsibility, and let them go out there to make those decisions for themselves, because they learn a lot from those decisions going right and going wrong, and Bangladesh cricket then will be in a better position going forward, and that's the seniors guys as well as the younger guys, as well. Let them enjoy their successes and failures and learn from them, and that's been the way I've been approaching my coaching with Bangladesh.

Q. Their win over South Africa surprised a lot of people, but does that change your target for this World Cup in any way?
STEVE RHODES: Well, no. First of all, the win over South Africa, I came to the England/South Africa game. I watched every ball bowled. Scouted it. I was delighted with the surface, what I saw, and I was delighted when I couldn't really see another pitch cut out, and I had a hunch that we might be playing on the same pitch. When I found that out the next day in practice, I was delighted. I thought that was a great opportunity for Bangladesh to try and take South Africa.

We needed them to maybe have a slightly off day, and that Mush played very well on the day, and that sort of thing happened on the day.

It will be a really big challenge tomorrow against New Zealand on a fresh pitch, and a more difficult challenge than South Africa was on that pitch. Has it changed our sort of goals? Well, we know we need to get so many wins to qualify. We're not bothered who the wins come against. We've just got to make sure we get those wins, and they will all be difficult.

You know, New Zealand will be difficult. South Africa was difficult, but we managed to pull that one off. So the goals remain the same. We just want to try and take every game as it comes -- I know it's a cliché, but you can't get too far ahead and think too far ahead. We've just got to get wins on the board, and whatever game comes up, the object is to try and win that game.

Q. How have you gelled the team in the wake of the Christchurch months being attacks and has it liberated the players in the way they have approached the game?
STEVE RHODES: Well, I have got so much respect for the players; the way that they have handled themselves after that event; the way that they have got themselves through it all. They are just celebrating Eid now, the end of Ramadan. That's been tough for many of the boys. It helps, in many ways, the Christchurch awful day and the shootings, it seems to have -- they have got some sort of brotherhood there now. They have shared with other Muslims who sadly perished that day.

But the experience they went through, they went through together on that coach, and I think it somehow gelled them and I think that they have actually got solace from each other. They have tried to help each other through it, and you know, I've got a lot of respect and admiration for the way they have pulled through. Because you know, there's a lot of smiley faces at the moment, and going back to that day in Christchurch, I was thinking, how do we get a team back together after.

But they have done it. It's not been anything special from me. I've just tried to carry on as normal because I thought that was the right thing to do, and the support they have given each other is the main thing. I think it would have been a big mistake to make such a big thing of it.

I think that they knew what they needed to do and I've been there just to carry on as normal and as I said before, I've got a lot of respect for them for how they got through it all.

Q. As you mentioned, the match against New Zealand will be very difficult. As we have heard, the next match will be on a very new pitch, and it could remain gloomy and foggy and there could be wind. If it is like that, there should be some swings from the New Zealand pacers. So it will be more difficult if the weather stays like that?
STEVE RHODES: Yeah, I think we shouldn't get too carried away with the weather. I think we know that New Zealand have a couple little chinks in their armour as a 50-over side but they are a very good 50-over side, as well.

We have had a very good team meeting back at the hotel before we arrived here, and we came to try and maximise those weaknesses. But every team's got strengths. Every team's got weaknesses, and we have, too, and they know them and they will be trying to expose our weaknesses.

I'm not too worried about the weather coming into play or anything like that, but I just thought that we can get in a situation where we can expose their Achilles heel.

Q. Following up on that, what do you regard as this New Zealand team's biggest strengths and how are you planning to counter them?
STEVE RHODES: Well, their strengths are for everybody to see. I'm not going to go into detail about what we perceive as their weakness, but they are a wicket-taking, bowling unit. Trent Boult has been very good with the new ball. So he's a guy that we need to have a good day against, but we are capable of doing that without batting lineup.

They have got some wicket takers throughout the innings with the ball, and they are an excellent fielding side. They are playing in a nice, relaxed manner with confidence.

So those are their strengths, and you know, that's why they are ranked where they are in international cricket, and at the moment, doing very, very well.

Their batting, someone like Kane is important to them. He's a glue that holds the innings together. And also, their attacking players at the top of the order, and around Kane Williamson, those are the type of guys that would like to try and take the game away from the opposition.

So those are the strengths. Probably didn't need me to tell you that. Everybody else in the world knows that, as well.

Q. Are you saying your 11 against New Zealand?
STEVE RHODES: Ah-ha. No, I don't tell the media what 11 we are going to play with. I just see it as crazy giving too much away to the opposition, and I can't tell you, anyway, because we're about to have a selection meeting. So I can't give you that answer.

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