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Shubho
December 13, 2002, 01:32 PM
The shameful display of our country’s national cricket team against the touring West Indian side ought not come as a surprise to even the most optimistic among our ranks.

The result itself was a forgone conclusion, and the manner in which our team folded was testament to the poor work being carried out by the current leadership of the BCB. Bangladeshi cricket fans cannot but cry out in anguish at the utter ineptitude of our cricketing officials.

The BCB has failed on several fronts, not just one. Poor team selection is but one of the ills facing Bangladeshi cricket. Questions have to be asked about Chief Selector Aliul Islam, who arbitrarily opted to drop proven players and gambled with the selection of others.

No one can justify the absence of Al Shahriar Rokon, who has been our best opener in tests, despite his lackluster performance in One Day Internationals.

The inclusion of Anwar Hossain was a complete disaster, and was a gamble that did not bode well right from the start due to his obvious lack of exposure. He was picked on the basis of only one performance, and that too in a hastily organized Challenge Trophy.

Attempting to strengthen the middle order with Aminul Islam Bulbul was laughable, given that he is now the wrong side of 35, and Bangladesh has a bevy of up-and-coming talent to take his place.

Finally, one cannot help being embarrassed at the inclusion of two specialist spinners, instead of using three pace bowlers. What indeed were the selectors thinking?

Bangladesh is playing a series at home, so our ace in the sleeve is perfect knowledge of pitch conditions. Sri Lankan groundsmen were brought in to make the pitch at the Bangabandhu National Stadium more bouncy, yet we still fielded only one seamer.

The West Indians made it perfectly clear that seamers should have been fielded after Vasbert Drakes, Jermaine Lawson, Pedro Collins and Daren Powell made such incisive inroads into our batting attack. As a new inclusion to World Cricket, we have a thing or two to learn from our superior opponents. Yet we fail even to copy the simplest of their tactical decisions.

Heads should be rolling not only in the actual cricket team, which changes from match to match before anybody has even familiarized themselves with the names of the new players. Heads should be rolling in the Selection Committee, and significant changes must be effected at all other levels of the BCB.

Everybody recognizes the need for accountability in the BCB, except for the BCB officials themselves. This backward attitude has to change immediately.

The nomination of Saber Hossain Chowdhury as the former cricket boss was a stroke of extremely good luck. However, it is not a carte blanche for the BCB to continue being run by an appointee of the government, or that it should continue to be operated on an ad hoc basis, as is presently the case.

The BCB can no longer be run arbitrarily according to the whims of a cricketing non-entity. In our case, that person is Ali Asghar Lobi, who has next to no cricketing credentials.

Furthermore, what cricketing background do the sons of our current prime minister have that they merit a say in cricketing affairs? It is a total mockery of democratic principles and good governance to support such blatant nepotism.

The sooner the current crop of officials realizes this self-evident truth the better. We have lost 16 test matches and 24 ODIs on the trot, setting negative world records in both forms of the game.

Bangladeshi cricket fans have not been witness to any significant overall improvements in our performances, bar one or two heroic individual efforts. This calls for drastic action.

Selection aside, questions have to be asked about the standard of coaching. There has been no transparency in the hiring process of Bangladesh cricket’s top job. Given the sparse information that was disseminated by the media, the BCB selected Mohsin Kamal based solely on recommendations by former Pakistan players.

No detailed assessment was made of his past coaching credentials. As a player he was neither world class, nor did he gain a significant amount of experience in the international arena. He played exactly 9 tests and 19 ODIs, so we are certainly not being led by a cricketing genius. In other words, he is very much dispensable.

It is also high time that our cricket officials realize that coaches from the Subcontinent are a risky option. Mohinder Amarnath proved to be more than a handful when he left without a word after dismal performances in the ICC Trophy.

A lesson could also have been learnt from our neighbors, none of who are working with local coaches. This is testament to the fact that they either lack the necessary professionalism (a la Javed Miandad) or the experience to prevail at this level.

Besides, the BCB should be contemplating a more rigorous recruitment procedure than the one described earlier. The applicant’s past playing and coaching experience must be examined. Through interviews, the BCB has to elicit the applicant’s motivation for the job, and what exactly he intends to do for Bangladesh cricket, as well as how exactly he will go about doing it.

Given the haphazard way that the BCB is being run, and the farcical performances of our team, we can conclude that neither the BCB, nor Mohsin Kamal, have any concrete plans to induce future improvements. It remains for them to prove me wrong.

The list of failures does not even stop there. Our domestic competitions are of a dismally poor standard. So-called top performers in the National League fail to have any impact at the international level.

They are hopelessly exposed when facing top-caliber players, mainly because their domestic competitors do not challenge them. This is compounded by the uniform pitch conditions throughout the country: slow and flat wickets, which only help the batsmen. Hence our conspicuous lack of quality bowlers.

Currently, we have exactly six divisional teams that are going to compete in the so-called ‘National League’. All matches will be played at a single venue in Dhaka. How do the BCB officials propose that this will (a) improve the overall standard of Bangladeshi cricket, and/or (b) increase the popularity of the game in the rest of the country?

There will be absolutely no progress. In fact, we are collectively moving backwards thanks to a hopelessly inept, haphazardly run, nepotistic organization called the BCB.

Measures to democratize the Board were reversed by the present government on the ridiculous pretext that there is no provision for such a move in the constitution of the National Sports Council.

Our league structure is losing its national character, and once again becoming a Dhaka-centered event. The competition is not even going to be as competitive as it was previously, when it ought to be more so.

No effort has been made to develop new pitches in other parts of the country. Nothing has been done about dilapidated stadiums. Again, everything revolves around Dhaka, and to a lesser degree, Chittagong.

In the face of a rapidly deteriorating situation, the government and the BCB has to take quick, remedial action. The first step would entail democratization of the Board, thereby ensuring that dedicated individuals with relevant credentials are running the show.

The question is: are Ali Asghar Lobi, Aliul Islam, Mohsin Kamal and company humble enough to admit their shortcomings, and do they have the courage to institute the necessary changes?

If not, we should continue to expect dismal performances as in the recent past. One day the ICC will run out of patience, and demote us to Associate status again, which will be another first in the history of global cricket. Having set countless negative world records, we should not make room for any more. After all, there are no trophies for losing.

Arnab
December 13, 2002, 02:04 PM
Homepage material.

Should also be translated and published in all major dailies asap.

Tehsin
December 13, 2002, 02:18 PM
Shubho ... I just stole your article man. I am shameless like that.

If Shubho it interested, Arnab is a pretty good translator/bengali writer. So, what do you say ?

Shubho, send it to DS first then we'll think about the Bangali papers. Bangali papers will obviously reach MORE people.

[Edited on 13-12-2002 by tehsin]

Shubho
December 13, 2002, 02:35 PM
Thank you both for the encouragement. I've taken your advice, and sent it to the Daily Star by email. I doubt they'd ever print it though. It's way too long: 3 sides on Word with a 12 pt font.

I have no problems with you taking the work for whatever purpose ... shamelessness is a good attribute to have once in a while.

Arnab, if you have the time and the energy to translate all of the above, be my guest. My Bangla probably doesn't match yours, and I don't have the inclination to translate either. I don't know whether sending it to the Bangla dailies is worthwhile though. Who knows...maybe I'll try persuading my dad to do something about it.

Tehsin
December 13, 2002, 02:45 PM
Your dad ?

Shubho
December 13, 2002, 02:46 PM
He's as good a person as any.

Mahmood
December 13, 2002, 02:49 PM
WOW!!!

Great feature and cant agree more. Very timely and practical.

Orpheus
December 13, 2002, 04:09 PM
Nice article Shubho, You da man!! I say Shubho for president :D

Author : Arnab
Should also be translated and published in all major dailies asap.
Author : Tehsin
If Shubho it interested, Arnab is a pretty good translator/bengali writer. So, what do you say ?

LOL, Arnab now wishes he never made that comment. Traslating that article is like doing a research paper. If you could do it! You will be DA man!!

Author : Shubho
I doubt they'd ever print it though. It's way too long: 3 sides on Word with a 12 pt font.
This should be the first article on the sports page. If they don't publish it, we will flood their e-mail account. Basically, anyone who disagrees with us, we gonna flood em. Wisden, Rediff, DS, Crickinfo, BCB, Banglacricket.com - shob gula re chubamu.

[b]JOY BANGLA! JOY BONGOBUNDHU! JOY ZIA!

James90
December 13, 2002, 06:36 PM
One of the best posts i've ever read. So true. That ought to be sent to the BCB. Nooooo Sehwag is out :(

Shubho
December 13, 2002, 08:50 PM
Do you guys have anything you would like to clog the mail box of BCB with?

Sham
December 13, 2002, 09:40 PM
Yeah, it is a good piece. I think DS will print it. Keep your fingers crossed.

Orpheus, I'm with you man. We can be a pressure group of sorts. Or email hustlers, whatever, but people better agree with us or else, we will unleash email hell.

As for our illustrious neighbours, they followed their first innings 161 with another steller performance. 121 all out this time. Hahahaha. I'm loving this. And how long have they been playing Test cricket again? Since 1932 is it? I think its time to reconsider their Test Status. MCC might have hurried it a bit there!

fwullah
December 13, 2002, 10:32 PM
If this piece is too long, the Daily Star Sports Editor might cut it short to make room.

rafiq
December 13, 2002, 11:25 PM
Subho, great piece. YOu could probably organize it into tighter paragraphs, would be easier for them to publish. and for sports page feature article, it is not too long is it.

one thing i don't get about the local leagues that you left out - what happened to biman, abahani, momd of the dhaka league, why are they left out and what impact has that had?

by the way, why stop with bd dailies - send it to wisden and rediff. let them know where the real problem is. this is as insightful as anything i have read there on our cricket. of course the stuff about the PMs son and associated nepotism will earn you some "image tarnishing" demerits among our brethren (beware of shoikoth), but that is your call.

bd_cricket
December 14, 2002, 02:06 AM
Good job, Shubho.
I just forwarded your article to some of the friends who are also concerned about our cricket (without your permission though).

Hope from this article BCB can get some lessons (only hope!!!).

Shubho
December 14, 2002, 09:06 AM
to everybody.

Now, since many of you have expressed your desire to clog the mail boxes of the BCB (et al), let's do so.

How about somebody draft a letter, so we can all sign it and send it? Anybody have a better idea?

My article isn't going to turn that many heads. So let's all get in on the act, and chinga the BCB officials to kingdom come.

Shubho
December 14, 2002, 05:29 PM
Alright...so I forwarded the article to the Daily Star team. Below is the reply they sent me by email. Let me know if you guys understand the connection between my article and their response. I am none the wiser.

Well, here it is:

dear sir,
We are planning to do a special full page letters on the
series of bomb blasts in Bangladesh starting from the
Udichi meet at Jessore, Ramna Batamul to the recent
Mymensing Cinema Hall incident and other similar incidents.
You may focus on the efforts of the authorities to bring
the culprits to justice, the accusation and counter
accusation from amongst the political parties regarding the
incidents and the consequent effect on the general people
about the carnage.

Thanking you
sonia kristy
Letters to the Editor Page in-charge
The daily star

Arnab
December 14, 2002, 05:50 PM
Er...I am clueless. Perhaps she's quite taken with your elegant prose. :)

Orpheus
December 14, 2002, 05:59 PM
Probably automatic response! There is a notice on letter page today saying the same thing. So, they figured people who write to letter page would be the one to be notified. Thus the automatic response! OR

They stored the e-mail addresses of all who written to dailystar so far. Now they are informing everyone of the notice by e-mail. It has nothing to do with your article.

Tehsin
December 14, 2002, 07:35 PM
Accidental or auto reply.

Resend the article.

Shubho
December 14, 2002, 09:12 PM
Sports Feature in the Daily Star (13/12/2002)


First of all, I would like the Bangladesh selectors to remember that they are selecting an international Test match team. They cannot only pick players whom they feel are good enough or on the basis of a single domestic tournament. Past records, experience and consistent form for at least one season are imperative and should be considered.

They picked young Anwar Hossain for the first Test in place of Al Shahriar who was the highest run scorer in South Africa because of Anwar Hossain's good batting form in the recent Challenge Trophy.

Chief selector Alliul Islam also told that they wanted to see whether anybody else could also play in the opening position. So, they should have given chance to Ehsanul or Javed Omar who are specialised opening batsmen rather than Anwar who has negligible experience of opening the batting, and if I do remember he batted at number ten below Mashrafee Bin Murtaza in the A team's tour of India.

Also the batting order was criticised by experts. Everyone felt that No. 3 position, which is the most responsible position, should have been given to Habibul Bashar or any experienced player rather than Mohammad Ashraful, who should bat at No 5 or 6.

I was also very sad to see Naimur Rahman bowling economically rather than bowling to take wickets. But I was very impressed to see the two pacers bowl their heart out. Though Aminul Islam did not get too many runs but he looked quite comfortable at the crease.

The selectors should not only consider the youngsters but also older players like Akram Khan whose experience would help the team in many ways. I would like to advise the selectors not to bring about wholesale changes other than bringing Al-Shahriar or Javed back in the fold and give Anwar a chance to prepare himself to be a fully Test player for future. Best of luck to Bangladesh in the second Test!

-- Yashfin Mahid,
Bangabha-ban (through e-mail)


[Edited on 15-12-2002 by Shubho]

Tehsin
December 14, 2002, 09:19 PM
Maybe the bangabhaban had something to do with it.

Shubho
December 14, 2002, 09:33 PM
Or maybe the guy's article just happened to catch their eye first. Or his article was within the 400-word limit. Or both. Or, or, or.

The bottom line is: WILL THE BCB KINDLY LISTEN TO WHAT SENSIBLE PEOPLE HAVE TO SAY, FOR GOD'S SAKE?!?!

fwullah
December 15, 2002, 01:25 AM
Which email address did you send your article too?

I should've given you the email address that I usually send my articles to.

The one that I usually send is: dssports@gononet.com

There are other email addresses of Daily Star; I think the sports editor of Daily Star does not look at the mails sent to the following email addresses at first:

dseditor@gononet.com, dsreport@gononet.com