Lalchand Rajput: Beating Bangladesh at home is a great feeling

Having gone 1-0 up, Zimbabwe head-coach Lalchand Rajput has set sights on a series win.

Lalchand Rajput (left) took over as Zimbabwe coach in August after it had failed to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.   -  AFP

In August this year, former India opener Lalchand Rajput took charge of a  Zimbabwean team,  which was hamstrung by a series of defeats, and a serious cash crunch that had affected player and staff salaries.

But in a matter of just three months, the Mumbai-based coach has scripted a turnaround. On Tuesday, Rajput was a happy man as Zimbabwe recorded its first Test win in more than five years defeating Bangladesh in Sylhet.

“It is a great feeling. Winning brings happiness to the team and brings in positivity in the dressing room. It is a good start to the Test series,” Rajput told Sportstar.

Rajput, who has earlier coached the Indian team, admits that beating Bangladesh at home is indeed ‘a big deal’. “Teams like Australia have struggled here, so it is a great thing for us,” Rajput said.

Zimbabwe's last Test win was in 2013 against Pakistan in Harare. This victory was also the team’s first win away from home since beating Bangladesh in Chittagong way back in 2001.

Having gone 1-0 up, Rajput has set sights on a series win. “We will take this momentum into the next Test and would like to win the Test series for sure. But we are taking one Test at a time,” he said. “This is now history, so we need to focus on the next (game) and come up with a new strategy."

Before coming to Bangladesh, Zimbabwe had conducted a two-month spin camp in Harare. “When you are touring Bangladesh, the focus has to be on the spin department. We had a camp in Harare where batsmen got an idea about spinning wickets. The batsmen learnt how to defend and step out and also how to sweep,” Rajput said. “The boys executed the plans well. It shows their character and temperament,” he added.

Bangladesh folded for 169 in pursuit of a mammoth 321, and Rajput admits that the visitor had a simple plan—not to allow the home team to bounce back. “When you have somebody on the mat, don’t allow them to come back, and that was our plan. Nobody has chased down 300-plus runs in Bangladesh, and that’s why we were confident. The bowlers performed well and the discipline was important,” the seasoned coach explained.

The second and final Test will be played in Dhaka from November 11.