Bangladesh Cricket

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Siddons plans a Tiger uprising

J amie Siddons took charge of Bangladesh with expectations, from fans and pundit alike, at a sky high. Here was a young team that had knocked out of the game’s super powers in the 1st round of the world cup, slain one of the WC semi-finalists in the 2nd round and then followed up with some exhilarating, stroke-play filled performances in the Twenty 20. Taking helm of the side was one of the architects of the Australian juggernaut: their batting coach, himself an accomplished batsman and rated higher than Steve Waugh by a certain Shane Warne. Team full of inconsistent but naturally gifted batsmen being run by a batting guru - what could go wrong?

The results so far have been mixed. No major victories to speak of, a few abject performances, some good totals and a few centuries. The bubble of expectations having been rudely burst, fans and media have been clamoring for answers. Jamie Siddons was kind enough to provide BanglaCricket’s own Mirazur Rahman his take on things.

BanglaCricket(BC): What was your motivation for taking charge of the Bangladesh team?
Jamie Siddons (JS): I took the position as it was an amazing opportunity to coach an international cricket team, and it was a natural progression from my position as assistant coach of Australia, where we had won the World Cup, The Champions Trophy and regained the Ashes. I wanted to bring my knowledge and experience to Bangladesh and take them forward.

BC: In terms of cricketing ability where does Bangladesh stand now?
JS: It is not a question of cricket ability but a question of cricket schooling, where you learn the art of playing cricket. Coaches, competition, and facilities are some of the things that are just not preparing our players for the tough world of international cricket. Our players are as skillful but we are lacking the depth of consistent performers at the highest level of cricket.

Jamie Siddons
Jamie Siddons, speaks during a news conference in Dhaka October 31, 2007
BC: You have said you are trying to change the cricket culture of Bangladesh and also the way the players approach their game. Can you elaborate?
JS: We have no player in our side that you could say are truly successful international cricketers. This was so before I came on board. We love them (current players) and they are our heroes but they do not have results or statistics that their oppositions have. Our batsmen average in the 20s while our opposition batsmen average 45 - 50. Our bowlers average 45; opposition bowlers average 25. This suggested to me that things, and team culture is one of them, needed to change.

Accordingly I have taken a long term approach even if I may not be around as coach to see the results of my work. The players are learning to train and prepare in a more professional and responsible manner, where we are trying to improve so that we can be consistently competitive, not just when all the stars are aligned and we have a “good day”. We have several players in the team at the moment who I believe have the ability to lead from the front and be world class players; players whom we can count on each time we play. This is what I am excited about for Bangladesh Cricket and our supporters!

BC: But isn’t trying to force a change in an individual’s natural style of play fraught with risk?
JS: There is such a misconception about how I want my players to play! I will just say that the batsmen are instructed to think of every ball as an opportunity to hit a 4 or a 6, but if the ball is too good and the risk or percentage for success is not good, then we must do something else. The game is about making runs and I encourage my players to look to score at every opportunity.

Our supporters cannot have a team that entertains from ball one by hitting the ball in the air, and expect them to also score a lot of runs at international level. It won’t happen; we will lose wickets and fail 9 times out of ten. Just as we have done in the past. There needs to be a balance of responsibility and structure to our batting.

We used to be a team that passed 200 in our innings just 1 time in 4 at the crease. We now do this every second time we play. I look for success in lots of ways, winning is a result of a lot of successes in the process.

BC: How is coaching Bangladesh different from coaching Australia or any other international team?
JS: In Australia there is an amazing domestic infrastructure which culminates in the best first class competition in the world. The international players, when not playing for the country, simply go back to their state cricket system and train with their state team mates and coaches, fitness trainers, physios, doctors, and so on. In Bangladesh, our players must stay in Dhaka to train and get any coaching they need. There are just no real facilities for them in the home areas, but the Cricket Board and I have identified this and are planning to improve in this area.

Our players are just so inexperienced in terms of decision making and being ready for international standard. With Australia you are talking tactics and teaching new shots and small aspects of the game, with our team you spend every day just teaching them the basics of the game, things that they should know when they are 15 or 16. This is because our infrastructure and pathway is not good enough at present.

BC: What are the major obstacles that are holding Bangladesh back in international cricket?
JS: International cricket is as competitive as it has ever been at the moment. We have seen India beat Australia in Australia in a One Day series, then Pakistan has won the Tri Series in Bangladesh, this was then followed by Sri Lanka beating us all to win the Asia Cup in Pakistan. So all three of these teams are at the top of their games and are capable of pushing the world number one. We are still a young cricket country and are still to get our facilities and infrastructure to where it needs to be to produce world class success stories. We are aware of our deficiencies in this area and know that it will take time to develop them to the high standard required.

At the moment the players selected have still got many areas that need to be improved in order to perform consistently at the highest level. The pathway at present does not allow them to be ironed out before they are selected. Our players must learn the hard way, in the public eye, on the international stage. I know we have won games at times in the past, but I ask, have we really produced a world class cricketer that we can rely on year in year out?

BC: The standard of domestic cricket is possibly the weakest link in the development cycle of Bangladesh cricket. As one of the most successful first class cricketer of Australia, have you proposed any change in the current system to raise the standard?
JS: There is potential in our domestic structure, but quite simply there are not enough quality facilities, including grounds, for our players to train and improve their cricket. For instance I believe there are just 1 or 2 working bowling machines in all of Bangladesh at the moment. I look at the cricket Academy in Australia and they have 5 bowling machines of their own. So for me it is the facilities and infrastructure that we must deal with first, then the standard may have a chance to improve! I know that improving facilities and creating a great infrastructure for our cricket is a massive and expensive task, but we are on the world stage and hope to be there a long time, so we need to get the foundations for success solidly built, or as happens with buildings, the house will keep falling down! The Cricket Board and myself are working closely to identify some of the areas that must be addressed urgently. We have purchased 3 more bowling machines in Australia on our last tour, which is a great start!

BC: Recently Bangladesh has shown signs of improvement in batting, but bowling has deteriorated significantly. Do you feel the need for a specialist bowling coach like Ramanayeke in your coaching staff?
JS: It is fantastic to have Ramanayeke in our system at the moment and he was a regular at our training before the Australian tour, so we have access to his assistance when we need or want him, his bowling squad regularly attends our training as well.

I have a bowling coach who was in place before I came to Bangladesh, his position like all of us, is reviewed regularly, and if we see no sign of improvement, then I am sure changes will be made.

Jamie Siddons
Jamie Siddons and Mohammad Ashraful during a press conf. on August 21, 2008.
BC: There is a wider perception among cricket fans and media that you are downplaying the successes achieved by your predecessor Dave Whatmore to cover up the recent failures of Bangladesh team. What is your take on this?
JS: I have the utmost respect for Dav, he is a personal friend and we speak from time to time. Success is measured in many ways, and I would love the team to grab a couple of wins here and there as Dav and the boys did in his time. However I am not here to have a team win a game or two. I am trying to develop this squad and the future of Bangladesh cricket to a point where they can compete regularly against the top ranked team. This will take time as the players have so many lessons to learn, and skills to develop. There are no easy wins out there at the moment, all the teams we have played recently are very strong and on the move forward.

I continually talk about success and improvement, we have a young team and when you are developing you must base success on achievement, not on win/loss. I hate the word failure when used to describe our team. They have had so many achievements in the 9 months I have been with them. It is long term that the people of Bangladesh must look and not for the immediate high of a win, though I admit it would be nice at the moment to get you guys of our backs and to increase the confidence of all. We now have more potential world class players than ever before, and the future is as bright as ever.

BC: There was a belief that Bangladesh can compete with any team at their day which appears a distant truth now. Do you think you are a bit too pessimistic about Bangladesh’s chance of winning against the top eight teams which is affecting the team morale?
JS: The problem is people have no idea how I talk to my team on a daily basis, the players are aware that our vision is to always improve. I am not interested in coaching a team that relies on luck or it being their day. I am concerned with improving skills and confidence in each other, so that we believe in ourselves every time we compete. We do believe if we play to the best of our ability then we can win.

The other thing I need to say that the team under Dav were given 18 games against the so called minnow teams prior to the world cup, this allowed them to win a lot of games in the lead up and gain some momentum, they then went on to win 2 very big games, in perfect conditions for our style of cricket. In my time so far we have been scheduled to play number 2 in the world in 2 series, and number 1 in the world recently. We also had a series in the very tough to tour New Zealand. We have had just one 3 match series against a minor team, a team that actually beat us at the World Cup. We completely outplayed them and won the series 3-0. There are no easy matches in international cricket. India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka are all extremely strong teams at the moment, and we have been unable to grab a win against them yet.

BC: Are you happy with the progress Bangladesh has made over the last 10 months under your coaching? How can players improve their abilities at Test cricket?
JS: As I have said previously there are so many examples of success within our team lately, the elusiveness of winning is not helping the public see this though. We have scored our highest scores ever against India and Pakistan in the last 3 months, we have had 5 players make their 1st or 2nd ODI centuries. We have a 19 year old in Roqibul who has 3 times passed 80 against top teams and is looking to be an international player of the future.

To improve a cricketer to be successful at highest level of cricket is unbelievably difficult, the skills and temperament must be achieved from their development, not through practice while in the middle of a Test or one day game.

BC: How do you explain Bangladesh’s recent performance in Australia?
JS: I can say that the results were very disappointing, and the lessons learnt were hard ones. The players were simply overwhelmed by the world number one team. They know they are better than they showed us in this series, and are determined to gain some credibility back in the near future. We should have won the third match in Darwin, our bowlers and in particular our fielders were superb in keeping Australia to 198 in their 50 overs.

We were a little unlucky in the beginning of our tour to lose two opening batsmen before the first practice match, and then to lose Roqibul with a broken thumb in the first ODI. We simply don’t have the depth just yet to replace an opener and our best number four batsman. This left us very unbalanced and even more vulnerable than we were at the beginning. No excuses though, the team has underperformed and are embarrassed by their efforts.

BC: In the middle of Australia series you were very critical about Ashraful in public. What were you trying to achieve?
JS: I am always talking to Ash about his performances, both good and bad, we are trying to get him to be more consistent and contribute to the score more often. Ash has made maybe just 4 or 5 half centuries in his last 50 innings and I felt it was worth a try to say that we need more from him as captain and a key position batsman in our line-up. Ash was sitting beside me and I only stated the obvious. You might consider it as an honest attempt to make Ashraful aware of his responsibilities. Time will tell if this tactic will work for Ash and the team.

I believe we have been too focused on Ash and what he is capable of. We have many batsmen who have made centuries for us and who are real match winners in our team. These are the players that will make us a successful team; one man cannot do it alone. I hope Ash can find the game that he needs to play his role for us. Everyone thinks he is one of our best players. He needs to show this by making consistent big scores. When he does I hope he will be just one of six or seven batsmen in our team who contribute to us making big scores on a regular basis.

It has also been said that I tried to remove Ash as captain of the team during our tour. I have never and would never do that to a captain. He has the toughest job in world cricket and his players do not always back him up with consistent performances. I have told him that if he is under too much pressure and he feels his batting is suffering due to captaincy, then he should consider resting from it. A run making Ash is better for his team than to have him as captain and not making runs.

BC: What is your expectation from the up-coming New Zealand series?
JS: I do not base success on win/loss, as this is demoralizing to a developing side, as they would see every loss as a failure, irrespective of whether they have made a century or taken 5 wickets. And our young team whether we like it or not will lose a few games before they start to win consistently. I want to be realistic here; we have to raise our game to beat teams like New Zealand. The series is on our home soil, the condition should favor us. If we can play up to our potential, there is no reason why we can’t compete and produce some good results.

I expect us to have a lot of players achieving great things against New Zealand, and I also believe we will show that we are improving by winning games in this series. Don’t forget though that someone wins and someone loses. We hope to be the ones who achieves more on the day, and come out in front at the end. Winning would be amazing for all of us.

BC: Do you think Bangladesh team is a bit too much youth oriented and lacks the guidance of the experienced players? Do you feel senior players like Habibul Bashar can help the young Bangladesh team to approach their game more sensibly?
JS: Yes, we lack the experienced player, but you cannot have experienced players in your side who are failing all the time, they will not offer guidance when they are not performing themselves. We have no experienced players out of the team at the moment that demands selection because they are performing, or have performed recently in international cricket. If we had an experienced player who was demanding to be picked because of performances then I would be asking the selectors to pick him. I am sure the selectors have their eyes on them and the results they are getting in domestic cricket. We have no youth policy.

Habibul is one of our centrally contracted players. He is not currently in our team but is a helpful and welcome addition at training. He understands better than most just how hard it is to be successful at International level. I would love to have a performing Habibul in our team. However he is not at the top of his game and was omitted some time ago after many opportunities. As I said before, a non-performing senior can’t really influence the game of his team mates. We would not leave a senior player out of our young team if they had the potential to be a match winner or be in our team come the next world cup. Every team plans around the next world cup, and my thoughts are that we should do the same.

Jamie Siddons
Siddons talks to Ashraful during Bangladesh vs. South Africa ODI series, March 14, 2008.
BC: Where do you want to see Bangladesh at the end of your initial two years contract?
JS: We will still be ranked 9th in the world when my 2 years are up as we have been since we started. What I have embarked on is not going to bare much fruit inside 2 years. What I want to see is that we have started to compete and are consistent in the plans and the processes that we need to follow in order to push and beat teams regularly. My intentions have always been to produce some world class performers that can carry the team to new heights on a consistent basis. And the exciting thing is there are 3 or 4 players that may just do that.

BC: How long do you want to associate yourself with Bangladesh cricket?
JS: It is a big challenge to develop Bangladesh as a competitive cricket nation and I have taken that challenge, I am as enthusiastic as ever. Staying up to 2011 world cup will be my first target. World cup will be a showcase event on our home ground where we will be able to show the extent of our development. We have a very good bunch of young players who have the ability to make their mark on world cricket in 3 years time. I do not know whether Bangladesh will keep me for that long, but I am eagerly looking forward to it.

BC: Finally, what will be your message for the Bangladesh cricket fans?
JS: My message to the fans is that your team train as hard if not harder than any team in the world at the moment, they are the youngest team in the world at the moment, and as such need the time to grow and learn how to cope with the situations they face in international games. Celebrate the successes of each achievement such as a century by your players. And imagine what we will be like when all these young players can be consistent with this kind of performance on a regular basis. Your team will be exciting to watch and competitive more often than ever.

Your coach sees beyond tomorrow and wants long term improvement and success from your players just as much as you do. Continue to support your team now in their development, as you will when they emerge in time as a threat to the game’s best. Look around you, it is not easy to be successful, and it takes time to develop your skills, we need time and your support and patience!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ashraful is promoting cricket among British Bangladeshi kids in London

Mohammad Ashraful is visiting different primary and secondary schools in Bengali dominated Tower Hamlets borough to promote cricket among expatriot Bangladeshi kids. He volutarily agreed to work as an ambassador of a cricket chariry "Capital Kids Cricket" during his holiday in London . He is counselling parents and encouraging school children to take up cricket as their major sport. He has so far visited 7 state schools in the brorough and met thousands of kids. It is a major boost for the Bangaldeshi community and they thanked Mohammad Ashraful and Capital Kids Cricket for this novel initiative in a program organized at St. Peters College in Whitechapel on Friday.

Capital Kids Cricket promotes cricket among different ethnic groups and have achieved tremendous success among British Pakistani and Indian communities. Ravi Bopara who ia now playing for England is one of their major success stories and a good number of their recruits are playing county cricket. This is the first time Capital Kids have taken an extensive program for the expatriot Bangladeshi kids. They have appointed Shahidul Alam Ratan, former Bangladesh U-19 and Malayasia national coach, as the head coach and also appointed 6 other coaches with different level certificates to run the program.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

It takes time to change : An interview with Naimur Rahman Durjoy

N aimur Rahman Durjoy is one of those rare cricketers who have led their country in a maiden Test. Durjoy captained Bangladesh in its inaugural Test match and led from the front, bagging 6 wickets with his offspin. Despite his bright debut at the highest level of international cricket, Durjoy could only manage 6 more Test wickets his 8 match career; one which was never the same after his bowling underwent ICC mandated remedial action. Durjoy's brief Test tenure lasted just over one year. Along with his Test career, Durjoy was also a regular in the Bangladeshi ODI setup during the pre-test era, playing 29 ODIs with modest success, over a 7 year span (ending in 2002). After continuing to perform well in domestic cricket, he retired from cricket in 2004 to focus on his business interests. In August 2007, Durjoy was made a member of the National Selection Panel that also consists of Akram Khan and is led by Rafiqul Alam.

BanglaCricket: You were the captain of Bangladesh in their debut Test in November 2000. Now seven years later, again in November 2007, you are part of the Test set up, this time picking the national squad as a selector. What made you interested in taking up this role?

Naimur Rahman: It was a great honor to lead the country in the debut Test; nothing is comparable to that feeling. When I started as a player we all dreamt about playing Test cricket one day. It (maiden Test) was a great occasion for Bangladesh cricket, the beginning of a new era and I was lucky that I was picked to lead the team. My Test career was rather short due to a number of reasons but I am happy to be back again as a selector. Cricket is my passion and the offer to associate myself with Bangladesh cricket was too good to turn down.

BanglaCricket: Do you think Bangladesh cricket has made satisfactory progress over the last 7 years?

 Naimur Rahman during Zimbabwe v Bangladesh, 2nd Test Match, Harare Sports Club, 26-30 April 2001.

Naimur Rahman during Zimbabwe v Bangladesh, 2nd Test Match, Harare Sports Club, 26-30 April 2001

Naimur Rahman: We started playing Test cricket without even knowing its full ramification or demands. There was no first class league, no experience (for our players) in the longer version game and no infrastructure to support Test match cricket. The scenario is completely different now; we have developed a pretty strong cricket culture in Bangladesh in this short period of time. We might have failed to achieve significant success in Test cricket but we have managed to strengthen our almost non-existent base. Now we will be able to progress (more) smoothly. It (early days of Test status) was a difficult time for Bangladesh cricket, but as a whole I am not disappointed. At the same time, we have made significant leaps in One Day cricket. Our boys are quite capable of beating any team in the world on a good day. This is a huge difference compared to 2000 when we played international cricket just to be a part of the cricket atmosphere.

BanglaCricket: Why we have failed to transform our success in One Day cricket to Test cricket? The same core group of players is playing both formats but on many occasions we seem incapable of even putting up a semblance of a fight.

Naimur Rahman: Our failure in Test cricket is unfortunate but not unexpected. Look at the foundation for our recent ODI successes. We have had a long culture of competitive one day cricket in Bangladesh. The Dhaka Premier League, which has been our leading, club-based, 50 over competition, has featured players like Wasim Akram, Neil Fairbrother and Arjuna Ranatunga. The atmosphere at the Premier League matches was always very competitive, the financial packages were satisfactory and all these factors helped players to develop the temperament for one day cricket.

Now if we look at the National Cricket League which is our only first class competition, you will find a completely different scenario. In the recent past players were reluctant in participating in the NCL due to poor facilities and the board had to force them by making it mandatory for national team hopefuls. Nevertheless, the poor wickets, afore-mentioned poor facilities, and poor financial package all resulted in rather poor cricket.

The gap between the standard of our domestic cricket and international cricket is still unacceptable and until recently the atmosphere of competitive cricket was completely absent from our first class structure. One cannot expect to develop the temperament of Test cricket without playing serious and competitive 1st class cricket!!

The good news is that some good steps were undertaken over the last 2 years and the current BCB has taken the initiative to make NCL more competitive, increasing the financial rewards for the players. The situation is still at developing stage, but I can assure you that we are heading towards right direction, and we will be able to reap the benefits of these steps within 2-3 years.

BanglaCricket: You have just alluded to the fact that the standard of our domestic cricket is not satisfactory and we have heard this often in the past. Every year we hear that "things will get better". Why it is taking so long to develop the standard?

 Durjoy in full flight

Durjoy in full flight

Naimur Rahman: We lack proper cricket facilities at first class venues except Dhaka. We are still treating cricket as a seasonal, urban-centric sport: indoor facilities, gyms and training academies are almost nonexistent outside Dhaka. The policy makers should understand that the players' interest should come first. Players need proper facilities, not makeshift ones to raise their game. They also need financial security and a competitive environment. We need sporting wickets where both batsman and bowler will get equal opportunities to perform. It takes time to change a culture, to put in the infrastructure, etc. We are still in the transition stage and it will take some more time to develop the standard.

BanglaCricket: You are taking on the responsibility of a selector after a successful stint by the Faruk Ahmed led national selection panel; one during which they have firmly established the role of "professional national selector" in Bangladesh cricket. Do you feel any extra pressure as one of their successor?

Naimur Rahman: The last panel did a pretty good job and we (the current panel) want to carry on from where they have left. Selection is a continuous process and we aim to do even better. I have a feeling that they (previous panel) may have had a tad too much experimentation in the national team, which in some cases has backfired. The current panel wants to learn from their mistakes and we want to form a more stable national team.

BanglaCricket: So ... are you planning for any major changes in selection policy?

Naimur Rahman: Not really. I don’t think there is scope for major changes in the selection policy. In some cases our previous selection committee tried to groom some players at the international level but some of them could not cope with the pressure and eventually we lost their service. I want to make the players ready for the national team before handing them the national cap. We want to get maximum output and longer service from national players and don’t want to expose young players (to the rigors of the top-flight level) too early. It takes time to make a player and losing them early is a huge loss for our cricket. Selection is not an individual decision, we have a panel of three and I am only a member there. I will try to espouse my personal vision as it fits in the framework for the greater interest of Bangladesh cricket.

BanglaCricket: Bangladesh is a very young team and the few regular senior players we have, the Habibul Bashars, Mohammad Rafiques or Khaled Masuds are all on the brink of retirement. Do you think we still need them for guiding the young players?

Naimur Rahman: We need a blend of experience and youth, especially in Test cricket. As long as the seniors are physically fit and performing, they will be always considered for selection. Players like Habibul Bashar and Khaled Masud are still required in the Bangladesh team; we should not forget their past contributions on account of their failures in one or two series. At the same time we have to groom their successors as no one can play for an indefinite period. We have good back-ups for Rafique in Enamul Junior and Md. Razzak, Mushfiqur Rahim is slow gaining experience to replace Khaled Masud.

In ODIs and T20 cricket we (the selection panel) have already identified a core group of younger players and we should stick to them for the next couple of years unless someone from outside that group demonstrates extraordinary performances.

BanglaCricket: Bangladesh’s next away series is with New Zealand, typically a very tough tour for sub-continent teams. What will be your vision in selecting the New Zealand bound squad?

Naimur Rahman: We don’t want to make too many changes in the current squad. There might be some changes which are required and we will only try to focus on those places. We want to rely on experienced and performing players for this difficult tour. There are some young players performing consistently in the domestic league, but we don’t to throw them into the big test in New Zealand conditions as this might dent their confidence. We have to understand there is a huge value to experience in Test cricket, especially in difficult conditions.

BanglaCricket: What do you expect from Bangladesh against the Black Caps?

Naimur Rahman: As I have said previously, it will be a tough tour for Bangladesh. We can only select the players; it is they who have to perform on the field to get a positive result. The seniors must take responsibility on a tour like this so that the young players can play their natural game and don’t feel too much pressure. It’s difficult to guess the outcome but I am staying positive.

BanglaCricket: As you mentioned young players, I wanted to know about your views on Imrul Kayes, Zunaed Siddique and Nazimuddin who are performing well in the NCL.

Naimur Rahman: We have a good number of young players who are performing well in the domestic cricket. Nazimuddin is one of the more technically sound players in the pipeline, but he is still young and learning. He has performed quite well with the A team in different conditions, but I want to give him some more time before considering him for Test cricket.

Zunaed and Imrul have just started playing cricket. They should go through the Academy and A team before getting the national cap for Tests and ODI. Zunaed is a good find for us in the Twenty20 cricket. Both will get their opportunities in due time.

BanglaCricket: Tushar Imran and Alok Kapali: both of them were successful A team players but failed to translate their success at international level despite countless opportunities. Any thoughts on them?

Naimur Rahman: Every player is different and does not enjoy the same level of success at different levels. Alok was given a good number of opportunities but Tushar was unlucky in many cases. They will remain in our minds as long as they are working hard and performing in the domestic cricket. Nobody is discarded permanently, there is always a chance to comeback. This applies not only for Tushar or Alok but also for all other players who were discarded at different times for different reasons.

BanglaCricket: We have seen in the past that some players like Al Shahriar, Ehsanul Haque were continuously ignored despite scoring heavily in the domestic league. Do you want to open the door even for them?

Naimur Rahman: Why not? If they can remain fit and perform consistently, they will always be in the frame of things.

BanglaCricket: In the past politics within the board has sometimes been blamed for some selection decisions. Do you think current selection committee can remain free from political influences?

Naimur Rahman: There is no place for politics in our cricket infrastructure or processes. What happened in the past should remain in the past. No one knows better than me about the ill effect of politics on a player’s career. I personally want to make selection process fair and free from any outside influences.

BanglaCricket: Do you think selectors’ role should not just be restricted to declaring squads? Should they also influence the selection of the playing XI?

Naimur Rahman: It depends on situation. We don’t want to influence the decisions of the team management in any tour, but in the home series we might give some input on the playing XI. I don’t think there is a universal policy on this.

BanglaCricket: Bangladesh bowling is often branded as one dimensional , after your departure from international scene we have not unearthed a single quality off-spinner or leg-spinner. Your thoughts on this issue?

Naimur Rahman: The success of Rafique as a bowler might be the reason behind the good number of SLA prospects the team enjoys. Having said that, we desperately need a good off or leg break bowler who can serve Bangladesh cricket for a long time; especially in Test cricket. Once we find someone, youngsters will be inspired with his success and will take off-spin or leg-spin more seriously. We are working on this issue but finding a quality spinner is a lengthy process, it will not happen overnight.

BanglaCricket: Recently Mohammad Ashraful was appointed as the Bangladesh captain. You have played with him. How do you rate him as a captain?

Naimur Rahman: Ashraful knows his cricket very well. He has just started as a Captain and is still learning the art of captaincy. I am hopeful about his future as Bangladesh captain and he is quite capable of leading his team from the front with exceptional performances.

BanglaCricket: Any comments on the 4 year tenure of Dav Whatmore?

Naimur Rahman: I am satisfied with the progress made in the ODI cricket under Dav Whatmore. He transformed a losing side into a winning outfit and instilled confidence, but I am not happy with our performance in the Test cricket. There was too much experimentation and thus too many changes in the squads. He doesn't seem to have worked with individual players in terms of establishing them in the longer version of the game. In my opinion more work should have been done in Test cricket for a sustainable development of Bangladesh cricket.

BanglaCricket: After a lengthy delay, BCB has finally appointed Jamie Siddons as Bangladesh coach. Can you give us your perspective?

Naimur Rahman: I think the BCB has made a very good choice here. He was a very good batsman and has an excellent coaching pedigree. I am looking forward to work with him.

BanglaCricket: Do you want to see Siddons and Ashraful within the selection committee as a member?

Naimur Rahman: It’s a policy decision and BCB should decide on it. I would definitely like to consult with them before selecting the squad.

BanglaCricket: One final question. Where do you want to see Bangladesh cricket at the end of your 3 years tenure as a selector?

Naimur Rahman: Do you mean in ranking? I don’t want to correlate development with ranking. Nowadays almost every team takes Bangladesh seriously in ODI matches. I want to see Bangladesh earning the same level of respect in Test matches. We also have a vision for 2011 World Cup Cricket in which we are a co-host. We want do better than our performance in the last world cup to make it a memorable event for Bangladesh. To achieve our target, we want to build a strong A team culture along with Academy and age group teams. There should be a smooth transition from age group teams, where we are performing quite well, to the national team so that a player becomes ready for international cricket.

BanglaCricket: Thank you very much for your valuable time and thoughts about Bangladesh cricket.

Naimur Rahman:Thank you for providing this forum to connect with our fans.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Explosive Bangladesh storm into the second round

An astounding display of power hitting by Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful and dashing Aftab Ahmed secured a comprehensive 6 wicket win over West Indies with 2 overs to spare at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg today.

Chasing a victory target of 164 in 20 overs, Bangladesh did not get the desired start as they lost reliable Nazimuddin in the second over of the match with only 2 runs on the board.

 Explosive Bangladesh storm into the second round

Explosive Bangladesh storm into the second round © Cricinfo

Tamim Iqbal soon departed while trying to clear Rampaul out of the ground finding Chanderpaul at mid off. Bangladesh were in a spot of bother and the spotlight was on Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful to produce an extra-ordinary innings similar to one in Guayana which denied South Africa in the last world cup.

Ashraful responded to the situation brilliantly and shared a 109 run partnership with Aftab Ahmed in just 10.2 overs with blistering display of cricket shots to send West Indies packing without a win in the inaugural Twenty20 world cup.

Ashraful tore West Indies attack apart in his 27 ball 61 and registered fastest fifty in the history of Twenty20 International, off just 20 balls. At the other end Aftab played his innings of life to guide Bangladesh home after the departure of skipper Ashraful and remained unbeaten on 62.

Ashraful nonchalantly clouted boundaries after boundaries and Aftab Ahmed aptly joined the party as West Indian attack imploded at Wanderers. Ashraful smacked 7 fours and 3 sixes in his blitzkrieg innings and Aftab walloped 8 boundaries and one six which sailed over the fine leg to the stand.

Earlier, Bangladesh won the crucial toss and decided to field first after an unscheduled one hour delay due to damp pitch caused by over watering by groundstaff. Syed Rasel removed the danger man Chris Gayle with a gem of delivery in the very first over and set the tone of the match for Bangladesh. While run leaked from the other end, Rasel kept everything tight and conceded only 10 runs which is the most economical spell in Twenty20 history.

A second-wicket 95 run stand between Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Devon Smith helped West Indies to recover from the shoddy start, and West Indies were well on course for yet another big score after their mammoth 205 in the first match of the tournament.

Introduction of spin pegged West Indies back and Bangladesh were well on top until 16th over of the innings. The West Indian innings gathered a dramatic momentum in the last 4 overs as Bangladesh skipper continued with his leg spin, and Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Smith clobbered Ashraful for flurry of fours and sixes. Ashraful conceded 44 runs in his last 2 overs and West Indies posted a challenging 164 in the must win game.

Shakib Al Hasan was the most successful Bangladesh bowler and pouched 3 wickets in the last over of the match to raise his match tally to 4 for 34. Abdur Razzak grabbed 2 wickets in his impressive spell conceding 25 runs.

Bangladesh is now leading the points table of Group A, also involving South Africa, and progressed into the second round with one match remaining.

Bangladesh will play their last group match against host South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday. The day night affair will be Bangladesh's first appearance under light in Twenty20 cricket.

Monday, February 26, 2007

This is a back up

Use this blogger in case is down, otherwise use that site. and Have Fun.