Eddie Barlow-A person who will always be remembered in Bangladesh Cricket.
Eddie Barlow’s association with Bangladesh cricket might have lasted little more than a year only, but the South African will be remembered and respected as the best foreign coach by the cricketers and officials here alike.
Barlow was not only a mere coach but also assumed the role of a father figure to the cricketers and cunningly vocal during Bangla-desh’s campaign for Test status after the 1999 World Cup. His 10-year development programme has also played the key factor to change the face of our domestic cricket although a cruel heart-stroke cut short his association with Bangladesh, much earlier than expected.
“He was a true friend of Bangladesh cricket. To be honest he was the architect behind the change of domestic structure. It was bad luck that we couldn’t get him for a long time,” said our former chief selector Faruque Ahmed.
“Whatever I have achieved was because of that man. He gave me the mental support when my place in the national team was not even confirmed. I will always remember his words to the selectors that I have learnt afterwards ‘Is Sumi(Eddie use to call Habibul Bashar by that name) in the list for the inaugural Test,” said Habibul Bashar.
“Can you imagine a man seriously ill rushed to the ground only to see Bangladesh’s practice match against Derbyshire. Honestly speaking, Bangladesh’s cricket was in his heart,” he(Bashar) also said after Eddie passed away.
Former Bangladesh captain Khaled Mahmud said that his first experience with the South African would remain forever in his memory.
“When I first came across him during his first trip to our country before his contract with the board was struck, Barlow asked some senior players what kind of coach they wanted. Our unanimous reply was ‘a motivator’. He assured us that we would get it,” said the all-rounder.
“He (Barlow) was the key person to transform our cricket to the highest level from ICC stage. It was bad luck for us that he had a very short stint, otherwise players could learn how to play the longer-version game,” said another former skipper Akram Khan.
Wicketkeeper Khaled Mashud termed him as the best coach in his long career. “I must say that he was the best coach I have ever seen in my career. He had the rare quality to stand before the players when it was needed. He had showed us how one coach can motivate his players with a one-to-one conversation,” said Mashud.
“I want to take the opportunity to give a small picture of his fatherly attitude towards the players. During a camp at BKSP, Bulbul (Aminul Islam) suddenly learnt that his son was sick and he told the coach that he would come back to the camp the next morning after seeing his son. But an angry Barlow’s response was that Bulbul should join the camp only after the recovery of his son,” recalled Mashud after Eddie passed away.
Eddie was the one who wanted to and started to change the face of Bangladesh’s domestic cricket.He had a vision and he worked day and night to make it a reality.Every former cricketer and officials involved with Bangladesh cricket mentioned it time to time what would have happened with Bangladesh cricket if he was there. According to them Bangladesh cricket would have progressed a lot more if he could stay with the team for a longer period of time.
When he died in December 30,2005 Aktel premier Division cricket was going on in Bangladesh.All players and officials wore don black-ribbon during the following days Aktel Premier Division Cricket League matches to show their respect to the South African.
Eddie had suffered from a cerebral haemorrhage when he was coaching in Bangladesh.After attending the exhibition match at the Bangabandhu Stadium between the national cricketers and Overseas XI, he returned to his residence in Gulshan, Dhaka. He fell ill while chatting with his wife Cally Caroline Barlow and Bangladesh’s team physiotherapist Gavin Benjafield. He suddenly started choking and lost control. He was immediately rushed to a nearby clinic. After the BCB President Saber Hossain was informed of the incident by Mrs Barlow, he quickly made the necessary arrangements to take the Bangladesh coach to CMH.After regaining his consciousness, Barlow was in a jovial mood, joking with the people attending him at CMH. He wanted Mrs Barlow to take him home. He also inquired about the team’s training camp, which is now being looked after by Benjafield. Cricketers and officials, all went to visit Barlow.So even after recovering from a situation like that Bangladesh cricket was on his mind.
After recovering from that he had to leave the job as Bangladesh’s coach.But he always followed Bangladesh cricket and even went to see Bangladesh play when Bangladesh toured England. His wife Cally is also a big fan of Bangladesh cricket and still follows “The Tigers.”
He and his wife will always be remembered by the cricket loving people of Bangladesh for the love they have shown to Bangladesh cricket.
its written by BC's very own S.Islam Ontique.....
This Great Man will be remembered.