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chinaman
May 20, 2004, 04:06 PM
Rabeed Imam in Grenada

He has been the most prolific wicket-taker among Bangladeshi new ball bowlers in one-day internationals and right up there in Tests too, but you donít see too many headlines written about him. But Tapas Kumar Baisya prefers it that way. The 22-year old right-arm fast-medium bowler from Sylhet with 33 wickets in 32 ODIs and 25 in 13 Tests, has an enviable level-headed approach to the game and life and his simplicity, dedication and all-out effort makes him any captain or coachís dream. Rabeed Imam, who is covering Bangladeshís maiden tour to the West Indies, spoke to Baisya after he had recorded the best ever figures (5 Ė 1 Ė 16 Ė 4) for the Tigers in ODIs in the second match at Arnos Vale on Sunday. Interestingly, Baisya wasnít even supposed to play in the fixture as left arm spinner Abdur Razzak was originally in the plan of the selectors considering the state of the wicket. But rain-interruption and overcast conditions meant Baisya got the nod.

Rabeed Imam (RI): You have now eclipsed Khaled Mahmudís 4/19 and is the holder of Bangladeshís best bowling figures in one-day cricket. When did you become aware of it?

Tapash Baisya (TB): I came to know about it after the match. Itís funny because had it been a full 50-over game rather than a rain-shortened one, I would not have played and Razzak would have taken by place. So I must thank God because He makes everything possible.

RI: Does it bug you that the media is always talking about the Mashrafees, the Talhas or the Sharifs and you never seem to hog the headlines you deserve?

TB: No, it never bothers me. As a matter of fact I donít want too much written about me because I think Iím an average person and I want to stay that way. I donít want to go down, nor do I wish to reach for the stars.

RI: You are regarded as the most improved cricketer in the team. How have you come this far?

TB: Obviously there was a lot of hard-work involved but it wasnít only that. We all work hard but I guess the encouragement from my team always spurred me on.

RI: Fitness is extremely important for a fast bowler. How do you keep yourself in shape?

TB: I try to follow a strict guideline in terms of food and my life-style. I know that if I want to have a long career, which is my dream, I must look after my body.

RI: When you began your career, what were your aspirations?

TB: The first target was naturally to get into the national team. Once I had achieved that, the next goals were to keep performing so that Iím never out of the national fold and to continue playing as long as possible.

RI: You have regularly bowled in the 135-137 kmph region in international games. How important is pace to you?

TB: I clocked 142 kmph today (Sunday). Yes, pace is needed because if you can bowl really fast, the opposing batsman will think differently about you. But pace is no good without direction. You can bowl at 150 kmph and batsmen will whack you if you stray in line, even in our domestic cricket. So to me, line and length is more important.

RI: You have deceived at least three West Indian batsmen with slower deliveries today. Is that something you have developed recently?

TB: All four of my wickets today were with slowers. I learned it from watching Indian paceman Venkatesh Prasad on TV. Actually I have been bowling slow leg-cutters ever since I started playing in the National League and got many wickets that way. So I guess the control was always there.

RI: Do you consider this to be your best performance?

TB: Not really. When I first started playing in the Dhaka Premier Division for Mohammedan, I appeared in a couple of games and then was dropped. My next game was against Abahani and it was a vital match. I took for wickets in my first spell and that performance made people sit up and take notice. So for me, that is still my best performance.

RI: Yourself and Alok Kapali are great mates. You come from the same district and have entered the Bangladesh team at the same time. Now you are performing as well as ever while Alok is desperately out of form. How do you feel about that and are you motivating him?

TB: Look, everybody goes through a slump and thatís what has happened to Alok. But heíll come out of it youíll see. However, I feel that he should work harder than what heís doing at the moment because if he breaks down mentally now, it will only get worse. If he thinks out of frustration that Ďas Iím not scoring runs, I shall not practice, I wonít bat,í then it wonít help. Now is the time to train harder and bat for longer perioRI in practice.

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reinausagi
May 20, 2004, 04:46 PM
First of all, Rabeed Imam is awesome. I like his style and enthusiaism. Second, is this kid grounded in reality and humble or what? We need more like him. Thommo wouldn't have thundered without Lillee, Imran without Sarfraz.... It is when the strike bowler goes off and you still can't hit the ball because some maniac just won't stray from line and length that you become frustrated. MMTT's time may have passed, anyone care to see Masri, Sharif, 'Tuki', or a matured Shahadat bowl with this kid?