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Isam
September 23, 2010, 01:17 PM
Sylhet: Underachievers eye reversal of fortune

Mohammad Isam

The players don't even remember when Sylhet last won a game of first-class cricket; it has been that long.

"We haven't really won anything in the last three years," said a senior player.

"We took lead against Dhaka once and got a few points more than them. That was one of the better days. But we have lost from winning positions several times. It actually has been a bad few years for us," he rued.

For the record, Sylhet have a winless streak of 25 games, spanning almost four years during which they drew eleven games. Sometimes they got close: in 2007, Alok Kapali hit 157 and strode back to the national fold but still Sylhet failed to win. They took a lead against Dhaka sometime ago, but ended up losing, as one player remembers. Worse, they lost all five matches last season.

If Sylhet were a club team, they would have been relegated to the Third Division long ago.

But they will never be relegated from the National Cricket League and in its 12th edition, they are up against defending champions Rajshahi on September 29 at the Shamsul Huda Stadium in Jessore.

So how does a team that has Alok Kapali, Rajin Saleh, Nazmul Hossain, Enamul Haque and Tapash Baisya and previously Hasibul Hossain lose so many games for so long?

Sure Kapali has been an enigma for the national team, but his class is second to none in the domestic circuit. Rajin has captained Bangladesh in one tournament while Enamul bowled the country to its first-ever Test win.

Pacemen Nazmul and Baisya have given honest performances whenever they have pulled on the Tigers jersey. Hasibul, popularly known as Shanto, was the first player from the region to play Test cricket. There have been others too; Nabil Samad and Imtiaz Hossain have played for the Academy or Bangladesh A teams in recent times.

For several years, individual talent has flown from the Sylhet pipeline but that too has dried up for some time now. Nazmul was the last player from Sylhet to debut for Bangladesh, and that was in 2004-05. No one since has broken through.

For the past two decades, a few families have actually provided a lot of players. Rajin Saleh and three of his brothers have played first-class cricket with the youngest one, Rizvi, now set to open the innings for Sylhet. Then there are the Golam and Samad brothers who have served Sylhet in the divisional side.

Having talked to several former and current players from the north-eastern division, there is no doubt that off the field issues have played a major part in Sylhet's continuous decay. Chief among them is the absence of a cricket league in Sylhet for several years. According to Kapali, it is hard to recognise talent without a proper league structure.

"I don't know most of the players from the other districts of Sylhet. We hear about them but since there is no league, we don't get to see how they play. It is important to see how a batsman does under pressure and playing small tournaments will never be enough," said Kapali, who added that the local cricketers' association organised a tournament last year but that is not as good as league cricket.

The lack of proper matches has a tremendous effect on the level of interest. According to one former player, boys in Sylhet have lost all interest in playing cricket and the casual yet popular para matches have also faded away.

"How did we start playing cricket? When we were kids, we saw matches in the Osmani Stadium and ran back home to play with our friends. This is not the case anymore. Boys are only interested in computer games and finding ways to go to London," he said.

But the blame obviously doesn't lie with the kids, but with the inactive organisers, who have remained stagnant, and the absolute non-existence of infrastructure in the city. The former player mentions how Baisya struggles to find a proper practice facility.

"Tapash is one guy who is always looking for practice in the off-season but remains frustrated. There is hardly any cricket facility for even the NCL players," said Kapali, adding that he hadn't seen any new organisers and most of them who have not moved on to other businesses, are more interested in renting shops in the stadium and idling away hours in the clubs.

"There is no atmosphere for cricket here," he said.

Senior players have also admitted a general lack of commitment in the last few years but according to Rajin, the players have practised for the last few months preparing for this season's first-class competition.

"Some can blame the organisers but the players have to show enough commitment at this level.

"But that is all in the past. We have worked hard over the last few months and we organised the sessions out of our own pocket and with help from the players' association," said Rajin, who has played 24 Tests and 43 one-dayers for the Tigers.

Kapali also said that some young players like Rajin's younger brother Rizvi and Shaker Ahmed could give them a chance to do well this season.

"Actually our bowling attack is good because we have Enam, Nabil, Nazmul and Shaker. We need to click with the bat this year," he said.

Shaker, the under-19 left-arm spinner, has progressed over the last two years and Kapali believes he is one for the future. "He has improved a lot. I wanted him to play last year but age was a factor but now he's ready," said Kapali, who himself is eyeing a lot of runs this year.

"The selectors said I have to do something extraordinary to get back into the national team so I think it's best to start with the four-day games," he said.

Last year's position: Sixth.

Strength: Motivation to win a match after four years.

Player to watch out for: Shaker Ahmed.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=155690

_Rafi_
September 23, 2010, 01:37 PM
Shaker Ahmed is really the man to watch. He was in fine form with Academy team. Hopefully Abul Hosan will play better this time, he is a good fast bowling prospect.
With Enamul, Nabil, Alok, Nazmul, Rajin playing full season I expect them to qualify in top 4. Alok really needs to come hard this time. Imtiaz at top order also need more consistecy.

Eshen
September 23, 2010, 02:04 PM
Both Raj and Shuvo should watch out for Shak (ie Shaker).

MohammedC
September 23, 2010, 03:08 PM
Having talked to several former and current players from the north-eastern division, there is no doubt that off the field issues have played a major part in Sylhet's continuous decay. Chief among them is the absence of a cricket league in Sylhet for several years. According to Kapali, it is hard to recognise talent without a proper league structure.



It makes me cry reading this. I spent many days watching games in Sylhet stadium played couple of games for my school at that ground in 1990 and 1991 and I can tell you I was not good enough at that age to play for a league team.
What happened to teams like Anirban, Sylhet Gymkhana :Gulam Farukh Suru was regular at that club and Apollo: Akram Khan on his early days was regular when he was not playing for Dhaka Abahani or his club in Chittagong.

I consider myself very lucky to be brought up in Sylhet,Bangladesh in that era. I could have went to school in UK, which would have meant not liking cricket at all. Could have been all football for me even though I like the game also. No, how can I think of my life without cricket.

I feel sad and ashamed of myself as Sylhety who cant do anything to help those cricketer.

uss01
September 23, 2010, 03:09 PM
Totally admire Rajin's commitment -taking matters in to his own hands and organizing practice sessions . A more professional NCL would mean there are consistent off season practice sessions for each team. But instead of blaming the organizers these guys organized it themselves.

Nadim
September 23, 2010, 03:41 PM
Both Raj and Shuvo should watch out for Shak (ie Shaker).

Exactly!

looking forward to see this guy...hope he stays fit and play all the matches.
<br />Posted via BC Mobile Edition

nahaz
September 23, 2010, 03:45 PM
Who the heck runs the cricket in Sylhet? I would have said get them sacked but there is probably not many replacements. I say BCB should allocate 1-5 lakh taka to Rajin Saleh per month and he can organise the cricket facilities and local leagues.

If instead of 40+ year old people as organiser who clearly always have one eye on England or business you have young 20-25 year old men organising the local cricket while getting paid, things will run much more smoothly. The guys are right: you need strong local leagues to identify talents, as well as give Sylhet's NCL members match practice. AS well as this, the local school leagues should be rejuvinated somehow. Sylhet used to have two schools supplying all the cricketers. Seems like even they are drying up.

So:
1. School cricket
2. Local leagues
3. Cricket facility funding, provided to Rajin Saleh.

Saleh has been doing a lot of good work in Sylhet, such as coaching the disadvantaged and getting coaching degree, but unlike in Rajshahi clearly he's not getting nearly enough support.

I really hope this year sylhet can make it to the top 4 teams.

Ajfar
September 23, 2010, 03:47 PM
Wasn't there a leg spinner in the U19 team from sylhet, Raju or something?

MohammedC
September 23, 2010, 04:53 PM
Wasn't there a leg spinner in the U19 team from sylhet, Raju or something?

Medium fast bowler Abul Hasan Raju.

jisaan
September 24, 2010, 05:27 AM
Wasn't there a leg spinner in the U19 team from sylhet, Raju or something?

there are 3 young leg-spinners in the ranks apart from Nur Hossain Munna & Sabbir Rahman Rumman:

Raihanuddin Arafat plays for Chittagong
http://www.cricinfo.com/bangladesh/content/player/56088.html

Khandoker Mohammad Shakil plays for Khulna
http://www.cricinfo.com/bangladesh/content/player/267340.html

Tanvir haider is from Rangpur but he played for Sylhet last season
http://www.cricinfo.com/bangladesh/content/player/421892.html

Habib
September 24, 2010, 05:34 AM
Medium fast bowler Abul Hasan Raju.

Yeah cannot forget him. He almost single handedly ended BD's second round dream. His economy rate is dire.

jisaan
September 24, 2010, 05:39 AM
Both Raj and Shuvo should watch out for Shak (ie Shaker).

nannu said he could play for bangladesh even now.
hope we would get rid off raj soon. shuvo is no match even now. he has lost all his bites.

Naimul_Hd
September 24, 2010, 06:06 AM
To My dear Mods :

Can you please make a sticky thread of "NCL 2010 Teams Preview" and put all teams preview into that. It will be more organized and neat. Otherwise, it would be hassle to dig out every teams news on different locations.

or,

you can make Miraz bhai's thread as sticky one and move Isam bhai's all teams Preview there.
http://www.banglacricket.com/alochona/showthread.php?t=34309

just a suggestion. thanks. :)

Habib
September 24, 2010, 06:11 AM
To My dear Mods :

Can you please make a sticky thread of "NCL 2010" and put all teams preview into that. It will be more organized and neat. Otherwise, it would be hassle to dig out every teams news on different locations.

just a suggestion. thanks. :)

I second that.

Tiger Manc
September 24, 2010, 08:47 AM
naimul_hd are you asddsa? i hope you didn't change your name because of me. i was only joking with you.

Naimul_Hd
September 24, 2010, 10:01 AM
naimul_hd are you asddsa? i hope you didn't change your name because of me. i was only joking with you.

yep broda. haha...c'mon...dnt take it personally. I was thinking of changing the nick and you helped me to take that decision quickly. Now i feel better with my real name.

Thanks mate. :)

Tiger Manc
September 24, 2010, 10:08 AM
No worries! Thanks for clarifying! Now i don't have a guilty conscience. Nice name by the way. :)

Isam
September 24, 2010, 12:38 PM
It makes me cry reading this. I spent many days watching games in Sylhet stadium played couple of games for my school at that ground in 1990 and 1991 and I can tell you I was not good enough at that age to play for a league team.
What happened to teams like Anirban, Sylhet Gymkhana :Gulam Farukh Suru was regular at that club and Apollo: Akram Khan on his early days was regular when he was not playing for Dhaka Abahani or his club in Chittagong.

I consider myself very lucky to be brought up in Sylhet,Bangladesh in that era. I could have went to school in UK, which would have meant not liking cricket at all. Could have been all football for me even though I like the game also. No, how can I think of my life without cricket.

I feel sad and ashamed of myself as Sylhety who cant do anything to help those cricketer.

I feel for you mate..

Murad
September 24, 2010, 02:08 PM
To My dear Mods :

Can you please make a sticky thread of "NCL 2010 Teams Preview" and put all teams preview into that. It will be more organized and neat. Otherwise, it would be hassle to dig out every teams news on different locations.

or,

you can make Miraz bhai's thread as sticky one and move Isam bhai's all teams Preview there.
http://www.banglacricket.com/alochona/showthread.php?t=34309

just a suggestion. thanks. :)

I think each of these previews deserve a thread of its own. I don't like those joga-khichuri threads where you don't know who's talking about what.

Mods can merge the preview threads with the divisional threads when the league starts.

MarufH
September 24, 2010, 02:48 PM
I think each of these previews deserve a thread of its own. I don't like those joga-khichuri threads where you don't know who's talking about what.

Mods can merge the preview threads with the divisional threads when the league starts.

True. Say no to so called "jogakhichuri" official threads.

MarufH
September 24, 2010, 02:54 PM
Islam bhai.. u should open a thread for Khulna one.. I am assuming you are Mohammad Islam, the original writer of the articles.

MohammedC
September 24, 2010, 03:28 PM
Islam bhai.. u should open a thread for Khulna one.. I am assuming you are Mohammad Islam, the original writer of the articles.

He already has. I used to also think its "Islam" but its actually "Isam".

Tiger444
September 24, 2010, 07:25 PM
Sad to see how low Sylhet cricket is..People are clearly not doing their jobs to find fresh new talent..its just scary how incompetent these officials are if their not organizing legit leagues in a big city..Rajin Saleh seems like a hard working guy and hope when he retires he can put up an academy there like Mashud did in Rajshahi..little steps like these can really improve our cricket..

Naimul_Hd
September 24, 2010, 08:55 PM
I think each of these previews deserve a thread of its own. I don't like those joga-khichuri threads where you don't know who's talking about what.

Mods can merge the preview threads with the divisional threads when the league starts.

I am also Against of "Joga-Khichuri" threads. But Previews of all the teams written by Isam bhai can be brought under one thread. Moreover, People are fascinated about playing Mohammed bhai's fantasy league where you have to predict players before game starts. So, Just to save time and efforts, i was suggesting that. Hope you understand. :)

Naimul_Hd
September 24, 2010, 08:59 PM
Islam bhai.. u should open a thread for Khulna one.. I am assuming you are Mohammad Islam, the original writer of the articles.

He already has. I used to also think its "Islam" but its actually "Isam".

@ MarufH
See, you missed it without knowing its actually there.

MarufH
September 25, 2010, 12:38 AM
@ MarufH
See, you missed it without knowing its actually there.

No.. I did not... I believe he opened it after my request. :saint:

MarufH
September 25, 2010, 12:41 AM
He already has. I used to also think its "Islam" but its actually "Isam".

Thank you..
Apologies... Isam Bhai.

Sohel
September 25, 2010, 01:35 AM
Sylhet represents one of my favorite groups of Bangladeshis, one of my favorite places in Bangladesh, one of my favorite Bangladeshi cricketers in Alok Kapali and my least favorite Bangladeshi cricketer: Khondokar Mohammad Rajin Saleh Alam (although "orZinalli" from B'Baria/Comilla/Whatever).

Having said all that, I don't expect them to do significantly better they have since Alok's remarkable 157. They lost that match also as Alok failed to convert what looked to be an easy double 100 a day ago.

Isam
September 25, 2010, 01:13 PM
Thank you..
Apologies... Isam Bhai.

its ok...always fun to read stuff like that!

Rainman
September 28, 2010, 09:46 AM
Sylhet represents one of my favorite groups of Bangladeshis, one of my favorite places in Bangladesh, one of my favorite Bangladeshi cricketers in Alok Kapali and my least favorite Bangladeshi cricketer: Khondokar Mohammad Rajin Saleh Alam (although "orZinalli" from B'Baria/Comilla/Whatever).

Having said all that, I don't expect them to do significantly better they have since Alok's remarkable 157. They lost that match also as Alok failed to convert what looked to be an easy double 100 a day ago.

I think Rajin is originally from Borolekha, which is in fact in Sylhet division!