HYDERABAD: Kids of the 90s would remember this. In cricket stats card games, if the name of West Indies fast bowling legend Courtney Walsh popped up, the bloke in the possession of his card would win the round quite often than not. Reason: the magical figures of five wickets for one run against Sri Lanka in 1986. Although those days are gone, Walsh is still a popular man, as fans in the city went crazy seeing him when the figure of six-foot-six took a stroll around the boundary line at Gymkhana Ground in Secunderabad.
Walsh, the bowling coach of Bangladesh since August, accepted “it will be a big challenge to face India and we are up for it.” He explained that his wards have nothing to lose and hoped they would approach the match in a relaxed frame of mind.
The prospect of facing Virat Kohli sends shivers down the spine of the best of bowlers. And Bangladesh have a relatively inexperienced bowling arsenal. Pace spearhead Taskin Ahmed made his Test debut in the recently-concluded series in New Zealand. Queried about the same, the former West Indies skipper replied,
“There is no doubt that he is a special talent. But if we start thinking too much about his reputation, we would lose focus.”
The New Zealand tour where Bangladesh lost both Tests in January could have been discouraging, but Walsh is of the opinion that the experience would come in handy. “It was a good outing for the players if you consider the experience gained there. All they need is more exposure to varying conditions.”
The 54-year-old reserved special praise for the young Ahmed, who was banned for suspect action for a brief period last year. “He has the ability to reach the top. He is working hard to contribute to the team. And to top it all, he has good pace,” Walsh said. “It is a historic occasion and it should be relished.”
With the pacers getting whacked all around the park by India A batsmen, Bangladesh bowlers would do well to listen to their master.