Will COO be a CEO or a glorified clerk?
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Saber Hossain Chowdhury has been silent for quite some time. The former BCB president, who put Bangladesh cricket on a strong footing on the world map, has always been an inspiration or a guide when he talked about cricket and its future during his tenure. The Daily Star Sport made a whole-hearted effort to break his silence at a stage when the cricket board needs a well-constructed opinion from the sidelines from a person who has gone through it at a very crucial juncture of our cricket. We put a set of questions in front of him to answer and he was kind enough to comply with our request.
Daily Star Sport (DSS
): How did you celebrate Bangladesh cricket team's 4-0 whitewash of New Zealand?
Saber Hossain Chowdhury
(SHC): With a great deal of joy, pride, satisfaction and I must confess, a relief too! Now we must focus on making a habit of winning and sustain the momentum this historic series win has given us. The players and administrators must not get carried away and instead fathom the sobering reality that the expectation bar has now been raised much higher.
: Are you happy with the way the Tigers are progressing?
: Progress is a relative term and is also context specific. Hence, a simple happy or unhappy is not the warranted response. Yes, there has been some progress no doubt but I have not seen much in terms of goal setting and a defining vision yet from the BCB that would establish an objective threshold against which we could measure our progress in quantitative and qualitative terms. I would have been happier and more comfortable had such a set of performance and target indicators been in place.
For instance, over the next few years, where do we wish to see Bangladesh cricket in terms of ICC rankings, how many coaches of various categories will we have, how many groundsmen, umpires will we have trained, developing professionalism at all levels, how many young cricketers do we wish to reach out to, how many indoor facilities will be created, to what extent will we have decentralised the administration and playing of the game, how do we regulate and monitor the standard of coaching schools and given that cricket has a strong commercial dimension as well nowadays, how do we mind the business of cricket? These are all fundamental and basic questions in evaluating progress.
: You had a dream of decentralising cricket in Bangladesh in its true sense. Obviously the reality is far from your dream. Why is it so difficult?
: The administration of the game requires the right skills and attributes -- leadership, strategic vision, initiative and the will to bring about change.
: You have heard that the BCB is contemplating to amend its constitution and change the CEO into COO. The amendment is likely to go for a verdict in the November 30 EGM. Do you think the change will be good for our cricket?
: I am not aware of the reason and motivation behind such an attempted change and BCB will be able to answer better. What we have to look at though is not just terminology and words but the actual terms of reference of CEO and COO as determined by BCB.
What is the point of someone carrying the title of a CEO when in reality his terms of reference are such that he is at best a glorified clerk.
The role that BCB defines for a CEO or COO will in turn be guided by how BCB views itself and how it wishes to evolve, grow and mature as an institution over the years. If it wishes to embrace a culture of professionalism, transparency, accountability and wishes to be judged on the basis of targets and timelines it sets for itself, then there can be no alternative to having a competent management team led by a dynamic and result oriented individual, backed by strong finances and driven by a clear vision that BCB has defined.
: In democracy it is the mandate of the most that counts. But in our sports you must have painfully observed the power struggle between the councillors from districts and the Dhaka clubs ultimately hindered the progress of sports. Cricket has also fallen victim to it. How do you react to it?
: Our cricket has evolved in two distinct areas -- districts and the Dhaka clubs -- and both have their respective contributions and we must acknowledge this reality. The leadership challenge here is to harmonise the two and harness this in an optimal manner so that at the end of the day we have constructed a win-win-win for the clubs, the districts and of course the game of cricket in Bangladesh. Both have to view themselves as integral parts of a composite whole and I am sure such a construct is very much possible.
: The World Cup is only a few months away and Bangladesh is a proud co-host. Do you think we are preparing for the august occasion in a best possible way? How can we lift our image in the 2011 World Cup? Do you have a slogan for that?
: The World Cup presents a unique and wonderful opportunity to showcase Bangladesh in all respects and this was certainly in our minds when we first registered our interest in 2000 to be co-hosts. We will be welcoming the world to Bangladesh and Bangladesh will finds its way to television sets round the world to millions of people.
I am not aware of any steps or any special promotions beyond cricket and this is a huge let down and development. Could we have not have, for instance, designated 2011 as "Visit Bangladesh Year" on account of the World Cup and organised special packages?
We seem to be treating the World Cup as a cricketing event and not a global showcasing opportunity and there is so much we could have shared about Bangladesh with the world.
: Which sounds more appropriate to you -- BCB president elect or BCB president select?
: This is not a question of appropriateness -- an elected BCB president is an imperative if we wish to see cricket flourish, blossom and prosper. The sooner this translates to reality, the better off we all will be.