The visiting England cricket team arrived at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Sunday for their first practice session amid heavy security escort. Before training, interim England ODI captain Jos Buttler informed a press conference that they are focussing only on cricket and not any off-the-field issues.
Here are the excerpts--
How does it feel to be in this environment with so much security?
Security is paramount when travelling to the sub-continent. We are always looked after well. Obviously there is a lot of security but that’s part and parcel of making the tour okay. Thankfully, now we are here. We will start practising [Sunday] and start thinking about cricket. I think those things will go back into the background. It will be a very competitive series. I think [Sunday] we start training and start gearing up for the matches.
How do you separate the security from the cricket?
Once we start playing cricket, those things will go into the background. Bangladesh have been playing well in their own condition. We need to be prepared. All we want to do is play cricket. Once we start, it will be very refreshing to start talking about the cricket side of things.
What prompted you to tour Bangladesh?
Once the decision was taken by the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board), the tour would go ahead. The players’ safety is paramount to them. The board has left no stones unturned in coming here. When you walk into a room full of people you understand the passion for cricket here. We want to be here and play cricket. We wish security was never an issue. It is fantastic for Bangladesh and England that we are here.
Are Bangladesh slightly ahead?
It is great for us to be here for this three-game series. We have been playing really well in the last 18 months. Conditions will dictate how you can play. I will be asking the guys to take the front foot and attack. There may be different ways to do things here. Bangladesh have been very successful in their own conditions. But we generally try to focus on ourselves, what we can do well and how we can combat the opposition. We have a very talented side with some exciting young guys in the team. They are very hungry to push on. We want to become one of the best one-day teams in the world. To do that, we have to adopt to conditions and play on all surfaces.
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Interim England ODI captain Jos Buttler does catching practice during training Dhaka Tribune
How significant will be your captaincy?
It is an exciting challenge and something that I have been looking forward to. I have been vice-captain for the last 18 months or so. I have a good relation with Eoin [Morgan], and I think we share very similar views on cricket and how we like the side to play. There’s going to be some great challenges as captain. The more experienced you get, the more responsibility you want. Being England captain is a great honour, something that I will try to enjoy as much as I can. It is very much a short term thing. The three games will be a great taste of what it is like to be a captain. It will be a great environment to play and captain in.
How will the replacements do in Bangladesh?
[Alex] Hales and [Joe] Root are two guys who have been doing well for us in the last 18 months or so. Guys not being here creates opportunities for others. There are some exciting guys coming in to the squad. There is great depth in England cricket at the moment. There are players missing out. Competition for places is fierce in the team. Ben Duckett, who is yet to make his debut, has had a stellar year in county cricket and for the England Lions. There are guys like Sam Billings who has been knocking on the door and could have played for a long time.
How would the batsmen adjust to the conditions?
It would be a good challenge for the guys. We had a series in Dubai last winter on those pitches in which we played well. We have to learn to adapt and win in all conditions. We still want to be aggressive and bat as fast as we can, but conditions will dictate. From previous experience, I think it takes 10 or 15 balls. If you can get through that period, then you start to get used to the pace of the pitch and the timing. Rotation of the strike, and boundaries may be tougher to come by. We will play our brand of cricket but we will adjust it to conditions.
What will be the main challenges?
We will be playing against a confident team in their own conditions. If you look at the makeup of the Bangladesh side, their spinners have been doing well. We will be ready to get used to the conditions. We are focused on ourselves and what we need to prepare. We are a young athletic team and I will want us to play in the same way.
Watch: English team arrive in Mirpur's Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Sunday at around 4pm amid heavy security escort-