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View Full Version : It's the First Class Cricket, Stupid.


Sohel
July 1, 2007, 12:27 AM
Question: Why are they so much better than us when it comes to staying out there in the middle?
Answer: They play more, better quality First Class cricket than we do.

The best way to learn to stay in the middle is by playing enough matches where you have the opportunity to do just that. The NCL is Bangladesh does not offer enough matches in its current format to provide that opportunity to our batsmen, and the tragic lack of a transparent, pre-determined talent assessment, selection and grooming criteria subsequently do what they supposed to do - add more density to our woes.

Just take a look at the difference below:

I) First Class matches other than Tests, Bangladeshi cricketers


Javed Omar- 42
Khaled Mashud- 41
Mohammad Sharif- 40
Rajin Saleh- 38
Mohammad Ashraful- 37
Abdur Razzak- 36
Habibul Bashar- 30
Syed Rasel- 30
Shahadat Hossain- 16
Shahriar Nafees- 16
Mohammad Rafique- 13
Shakib Al Hasan- 13
Mushfiqur Rahim- 12
Mashrafee Bin Murtaza- 8
Mehrab Hossain Jr. (no test debut yet)- 26

II) First Class matches other than Tests, Sri Lankan cricketers


Muttiah Muralitharan- 95
Kumar Sangakkara- 79
Mahela Jayawardene- 78
Chaminda Vaas- 72
T. Dilshan- 135
P. Jayawardene- 121
M. Warnapura (just had his debut)- 107
C. Silva- 98
M. Vandort- 98
M. Bandara- 96
D. Fernando- 57
L. Malinga- 47

A pattern emerges, or should emerge at any rate. We need to re-format the NCL to allow more First Class matches at several different age levels, and take all necessary steps to improve the quality of cricket in those matches. If we don't and allow the staus-quo to continue, the past will also continue to haunt us as we impatiently watch our players trying to learn under the spotlight. Cricket is not learned by osmosis or on a psychiatrist's couch for that matter, the finer points of the game are learned as you play enough quality matches out there in the middle.

A big thanks to Utpol Shubhro from Prothom Alo for providing the numbers.

WarWolf
July 1, 2007, 12:34 AM
Nice post Sohel Bhai. Once again the finger goes to the quality of domestic cricket.

battye
July 1, 2007, 02:50 AM
It's not so much the number of games, it's the quality of the games you do play. So how do you rectify this? Increase the quality of the competition.

Now, you could do this in a number of ways. Invite overseas players. If each Bangladesh first-class team could get say, 2 overseas players from England, Australia or South Africa (and not necessarily current international players, you could get decent players at domestic level, such as Andy Bichel, Nicky Boje etc... of course, getting them and convincing them to participate is an entirely different matter).

Alternatively, Bangladesh could send sides to participate in other domestic leagues. Perhaps Bangladesh A could play in India's domestic league (I think in the past this has happened...) or Sri Lanka's competition.

Alternatively, Bangladesh A could play in the Intercontinental Cup. And if Zimbabwe play in the Intercontinental Cup (which would seem quite likely now, seeing they have been refused entry back to Tests) it will allow Bangladesh A players to get some practice against Test players (guys like Taylor, Chigumbura etc) and strong first-class players (Tikolo, ten Doeschate, Hemp etc).

If you have, say, a squad of 15 Bangladesh A players in the Intercontinental Cup, bettering their skills, then when THESE players return to the domestic league in Bangladesh, the standards will rise.

Tintin
July 1, 2007, 02:55 AM
Players in domestic cricket gets to play virtually the same number of first class games in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. At the moment, each team plays ten matches each.

In the past several seasons it has varied between 9 & 12 but there is no substantial difference.

Shafin
July 1, 2007, 07:49 AM
We should give the Dhaka league First class status.There is already more than one FC competition in many countries

WarWolf
July 1, 2007, 08:30 AM
We should give the Dhaka league First class status.There is already more than one FC competition in many countries
A very good proposal. Our club teams have better financial capability to bring some good foreign players. This would make the first class tournament more competitive and more challanging for our players.

Nafis_BD
July 1, 2007, 08:42 AM
"We need to re-format the NCL"
The quote above is all I need to say. I have been saying this for soo long, if the players get used to playing lots of test matches and etc they will have to do good in the international arena. I really hope our domestic structure gets reformatted soon and we fix this big problem!! Btw Nice post Sohel bhaiya!!

nahaz
July 1, 2007, 11:10 AM
Hey guys,
I think the soln to most problems in life is money.The only way cricketers would take first class cricket seriously is if they are paid serious amounts of money-say at least 10,000 per 4-day match and 5,000 taka per one-dayer.Australian players get $10,000 per test played.(Wonder what ours get!! Anyone?)

Secondly,the wickets.Far as I can understand from you guys ,they are really sub-standard.Not only should we have proper wickets with varable qualities(spin,bounce,occasional flat ones) in different venues, we should also have proper practice facilities for every team.Physio for the FC sides are a must.Also, there should be BCB-run hostels for cricketers to stay close to their grounds at places where the hotels aren't too great.

Thirdly,I loved bulbul bhai's idea of having A-teams for the state teams from a recent interview.Although for now that can only serve as back-up players for the main teams.But I think there should be proper grade cricket set up within the states to serve as a genuine talent pool by the BCB.Maybe teams from three to five different districts can be part of first grade and second grade competitions.They should be funded by BCB for proper equipments.Sponsors for these teams could be local rich people or industries.Also, the top 8 teams from school cricket can run a separate 2-day competition as well the normal 35-over matches.Again,BCB should fund under-previlaged schools.

Also,I don't really know how BCB is structured, but they should have regional offices for each of the six division which look after it's own grounds,it's staff,state teams,and the local schools and clubs in the region.It's impossible to run everything from Dhaka.

Now I know some people would say who'd pay for all this, but remember,BCB recently got a lot of money from the TV deal with Nimbus.Also, they should seriously think of officially merchandising things like official jerseys, hats , signed cricket bats as well as other stuff like key-rings.I don't know how much they already do but there should be marketing people working on these things at the BCB (probably is).
I guess I'm really frustrated with the fact that after 7 years of having test status, we do not have decent pitches, or a decent system to run a first class comp.If they're so out of ideas, here's some for them to think about.If they can't put a system in place,maybe it's a good time to go elsewhere.But I'm sure there's good people out there who try ,even at the BCB.Comments and better suggestions welcome.

Sadz
July 1, 2007, 11:24 AM
I dont know about some of the things you said but I do agree with the idea of wickets and A team. The thing I dont agree with is when you said money. Ok maybe we need money to get along in life but these players love playing cricket and some would play for free if they wanted. Please dont make out as if they are money-greedy.

al Furqaan
July 1, 2007, 11:33 AM
thats not a big difference, IMO...makes me feel worse.

Murad
July 1, 2007, 11:33 AM
edited

nahaz
July 1, 2007, 07:26 PM
I mentioned money because I heard from some interview recently that the players hardly get paid in the NCL.Thing with money is, if they don't get paid, they will be forced to work instead of just worrying about cricket in the off-season.I didn't mean to make them seem money-greedy, just that it would help even interms of motivation.How much are they supposed to get paid forthe NCL matches, anyone know?

Also, I often see underprevilaged schools complained how they can't practice due to lack of equipments(not just for cricket).So maybe here and there we can help out a few schools with some equipment, etc.
Oh,one last question,is there actually divisional offices of the BCB?If there is, what are their duties?

Cheers

IanW
July 1, 2007, 07:36 PM
This is a point I've been making for a long freaking time.

And, to the credit of the BCB, they actually do recognise it as well (cf A tour of England etc) - but there is a limit to what you can do.

Me, I think the solution is longer tours by Bangladesh. The only thing less sufficient than one warmup gameis no warmup games, and we saw how well that worked when Australia came to Bangladesh.

Less one day cricket, more four day cricket. While that is not the alpha and omega of improving the standard of Bangladeshi Test cricket, without it, there is no hope of turning talent into consistent performance.

Ian Whitchurch

Aritro
July 2, 2007, 12:49 AM
A pattern emerges, or should emerge at any rate. We need to re-format the NCL to allow more First Class matches at several different age levels, and take all necessary steps to improve the quality of cricket in those matches. If we don't and allow the staus-quo to continue, the past will also continue to haunt us as we impatiently watch our players trying to learn under the spotlight. Cricket is not learned by osmosis or on a psychiatrist's couch for that matter, the finer points of the game are learned as you play enough quality matches out there in the middle.

A big thanks to Utpol Shubhro from Prothom Alo for providing the numbers.

Very true of course, but I've never agreed with your suggestion that we increase the schedule to 25 first class games. That's an inordinately high number. Observors in England used to complain year after year about how the number of games they played in a season only served to ensure the actual quality and intensity of those games was far lower than it should be.

They play 10 four-day games in the Australian season. We might do well to increase ours to 15. I also think Bulbul's made a good point about how we need to have the same players representing the same district year after year. We also ideally need each district team to have its own regional administration with coaches, support stuff and junior development programs.

And we need better bloody pitches.

Sohel
July 2, 2007, 03:48 AM
Very true of course, but I've never agreed with your suggestion that we increase the schedule to 25 first class games. That's an inordinately high number. Observors in England used to complain year after year about how the number of games they played in a season only served to ensure the actual quality and intensity of those games was far lower than it should be.

They play 10 four-day games in the Australian season. We might do well to increase ours to 15. I also think Bulbul's made a good point about how we need to have the same players representing the same district year after year. We also ideally need each district team to have its own regional administration with coaches, support stuff and junior development programs.

And we need better bloody pitches.

Our results in the international arena clearly demonstrate that 10 FC games per year do not adequately prepare our players to stay in the middle and consistently compete against older cricket cultures. I think the 25 match per team format will do the following things:

1) Enable us to play a lot of FC cricket all year-round, and naturally start to enhance the quality of the matches as well.
2) Necessitate bigger rosters that will evolve into a deeper pipeline, provided that talent-scouting is systematic, and not arbitrary or nepotistic.
3) Most importantly, accelerate our development faster than any other test playing nation to date simply by giving our International cricketers a more convenient opportunity to stay in the middle and try and harness their talent.

Practice makes perfect and the more, the better. In all physical culture, be it cricket or Kendo, well- managed quantity is sybiotic to quality.

Aritro
July 2, 2007, 03:54 AM
Our results in the international arena clearly demonstrate that 10 FC games per year do not adequately prepare our players to stay in the middle and consistently compete against older cricket cultures. I think the 25 match per team format will do the following things:

1) Enable us to play a lot of FC cricket all year-round, and naturally start to enhance the quality of the matches as well.
2) Necessitate bigger rosters that will evolve into a deeper pipeline, provided that talent-scouting is systematic, and not arbitrary or nepotistic.
3) Most importantly, accelerate our development faster than any other test playing nation to date simply by giving our International cricketers a more convenient opportunity to stay in the middle and try and harness their talent.

Practice makes perfect and the more, the better. In all physical culture, be it cricket or Kendo, well- managed quantity is sybiotic to quality.

No arguements about 10 not being enough. I just reckon 25 is way too much, given that in County Cricket we have a well documented example of too much cricket resulting in a diluted standard.

15's a good number IMO.

Although to be honest, in addition to the problems I mentioned in my previous post, I think extreme over-centralisation, insufficient funding, sub-standard facilities, and an absence of specialised coaching, youth development and systematic talent identification are bigger problems.

Sohel
July 2, 2007, 04:17 AM
... Although to be honest, in addition to the problems I mentioned in my previous post, I think extreme over-centralisation, insufficient funding, sub-standard facilities, and an absence of specialised coaching, youth development and systematic talent identification are bigger problems...

You've hit the nail right where it needs to be hit. The issues that you've correctly pointed out need rectified first and the solutions need to go hand-in-hand with any re-formatting in order to have the type of positive impact all of us are looking for.

15 is not a bad number for teams with a small roster of say 16 players. However, I think the "systematic talent identification" you've so aptly pointed out, will yield numbers that'll require the NCL teams to have bigger rosters - despite having 4 additional junior sides per team playing out their schedule - given the passion for the game everywhere in a country of 150 million people. The current BC banner is a very common snapshot out of daily life here in Bangladesh. I was looking at NCL teams eventually boasting a deep roster of at least 30 players per side who'd rotate, or 150 players per team at all age levels. Decentralization away from Dhaka and into the the 6 divisional cities can accomodate those numbers without too much difficulty once their systematically assessed and brought into the elite fold. I think more teams, not more matches, will stagnate our growth at the FC level. I'm willing to cross that bridge over county and other cricket when we get there in 15 to 20 years.

Aritro
July 2, 2007, 04:23 AM
I was looking at NCL teams eventually boasting a deep roster of at least 30 players per side who'd rotate, or 150 players per team at all age levels.

Instead of 25 games a season, where 30 player rosters get rotated (all we'll achieve with that is to ensure that best XI is never out there IMO), why don't we just introduce concurrent 2nd XI and 3rd XI competitions like every other country in the world?

In fact, the absence of 2nd and 3rd XI cricket is just another one of the problems with our first class structure.

*admittedly a lack of resources is probably one of the main reasons why this isn't neccessarily feasible

Sohel
July 2, 2007, 04:53 AM
... *admittedly a lack of resources is probably one of the main reasons why this isn't neccessarily feasible ...

It ain't the lack of resources bro, it's the corruption, mismanagement, and the utter lack of accountability being somewhat rectified as we speak.

I see your point about concurrent leagues and have made my view clear in some previous posts. 6 teams in the NCL, each with 5 sides: 1) Senior, 2) A, 3) U-19, 4) U-17, and 5) U-15, all playing in concurrent leagues, all year 'round.

That said, the top players in all 5 teams will end-up playing no more than 15 to 20 FC matches anyway due to weather, international duty and school.

Tehsin
July 2, 2007, 08:58 AM
Just read Bulbul's interview on the front page - The First class leagues are played (and managed) in a picnic style. That's been the problem since day one. Talking about day one, we've called for a SOLID first class league since the early 1990s. 15-17 years later, we HAVE a league but it's still in it's inphancy due to the lack of forsight and commitment from the local/domestic organizers.

The solution ? We've gone over this over and over in this board (and I'm sure in the BCB board meetings and among BD cricket lovers worldwide). What we need to do now is to have the organisers STEP UP, BE Accountable, and put all the necessary steps in place to make our first class more competitive. It's the commitment and accountability that's missing. If we can understand it and have been talking about it for years, why can't BCB correct it ? Lack of leadership and intelligence or simply downright lack of care about our cricket ? They are more interested in short term gain and that has brought us to this stage where even after 7 years (as a test team), we are still no better we were in 2000.

One World
July 2, 2007, 01:07 PM
Yes, make it hard. Set a level of performance. Rank them out which player did what against which team. Opponents strength must also be measured to calculate out the performance graph. And then based on the performance choose the right talents. All this picnic mode will change to professionalism when actual profession will be in question.

mafizraju
July 2, 2007, 09:20 PM
First class cricket has to be made as the prime source of livelehood for the cricketer. and I reckon we would need more than 6 teams. may be 9 is a better number. The BCB high performance Squad and Academy squads should participate in this competetion with none of them being selected for more than 3 years consecutively and performance and contract being evaluated after each year. Foreign players beign allowed in the touranment. we need green top wickets with bounce and movement. I would agree that school cricket should be transfered as two day game with another one day competition. untill we develop a meaningful regional structure, I have no problem these players being choses and devided by BCB. but they must have full fledged coaching stuff including sports psychologist, TV broadcast, practice field. Each of these players has to earn at least 50 thousand per year from these first class games per season plus other allownces and big prize money for the winner and top performers. BCB has enough money. I am afraid BCB has to look to this. its getting too late. How about we in banglacricket make this demand our main focus. Lets all agree on some details development plan and then showcase it in bangla cricket and submit it to the Advisor and BCB officials???? what you guys think?

SS
July 2, 2007, 10:30 PM
Just read Bulbul's interview on the front page - The First class leagues are played (and managed) in a picnic style. That's been the problem since day one. Talking about day one, we've called for a SOLID first class league since the early 1990s. 15-17 years later, we HAVE a league but it's still in it's inphancy due to the lack of forsight and commitment from the local/domestic organizers.

The solution ? We've gone over this over and over in this board (and I'm sure in the BCB board meetings and among BD cricket lovers worldwide). What we need to do now is to have the organisers STEP UP, BE Accountable, and put all the necessary steps in place to make our first class more competitive. It's the commitment and accountability that's missing. If we can understand it and have been talking about it for years, why can't BCB correct it ? Lack of leadership and intelligence or simply downright lack of care about our cricket ? They are more interested in short term gain and that has brought us to this stage where even after 7 years (as a test team), we are still no better we were in 2000.
Agree with Tehsin bhai...I think if time and opportunity comes, we should try to group together and reach out to the medias like newspaper to inform everybody the problem of our cricket structure. Nowadays, all newspaper publish articles about cricket and sometimes have seperate columns for cricket. Not sure if we will be able to reach out sports ministry and appeal for a restructured league for longer version of the game.

WarWolf
July 2, 2007, 10:36 PM
Agree with Tehsin bhai...I think if time and opportunity comes, we should try to group together and reach out to the medias like newspaper to inform everybody the problem of our cricket structure. Nowadays, all newspaper publish articles about cricket and sometimes have seperate columns for cricket. Not sure if we will be able to reach out sports ministry and appeal for a restructured league for longer version of the game.
Reaching sports ministry won't do anything, I am afraid. I am sure they are getting a lot of feedbacks from all around the world and bangladesh suggesting steps necessary to improve our cricket. Yet there is no change. This means either they don't care about it or they are so dull that can't understand it.