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Old September 26, 2003, 10:33 PM
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fwullah fwullah is offline
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Default 2 contradictory articles - BKSP

What more can Whatmore do
When we are hell-bent on self-deception?
The recent performance by the Bangladesh team as the experts would like to tell us has been encouraging despite the fact that we have been trounced 3-0 in the Tests and 5-0 in the ODIs by an experimental Pakistani side that did not play with their best XI.
Debutants were thrown at us as if the Pakistani team management could not care less and we, the so easily satisfied Bangladeshi supporters, were impressed by the heroics of our team consisting of veterans, some of them if their actual age were documented would at least be uncles to the Hamids, Hafeezes and Junaids.
When Ramiz Raza and Aamir Sohail condescendingly commend our performance and say that our performance is improving, a slap would have been less insulting considering the whitewash result.
I believe it is time to accept reality as it is and not indulge in meaningless adulation that only allows complacency. We must accept that we, as a team, are the worst in the world of cricket and our skills, development efforts so far have been meaningless, failing to spot talented cricketers from a population of 130 millions.
Considering the excitement and sportsmanship demonstrated in the domestic leagues and the plethora of talents spotted during the season there is no reason to believe that there is lack of talent in the playing fields of Bangladesh.
What is lacking, however, is the selectors’ initiative to be in the grounds, go through the statistics of each individual player and spot the right talent at the right age. Irresponsible lethargic mid-level cricket officials and apple-polishing selectors involved in the development programme of the board are solely responsible for the dearth of talented cricketers in our national squad.
The present selection process for the Bangladesh U-19 team is a testimony to the amateurish and self-defeating development endeavours of the officials involved in our development programme and the catastrophic consequences it has on the future of the game in Bangladesh.
Firstly, over 30 players were selected for the primary training camp for the U-19 squad. This squad consisted of players of different age groups despite the under-19 years of age stipulation. Senior players of the U-23 squad were drafted and considered as U-19 players. Who are we cheating and why? So the selectors and officials may look good in the tournament by posting a comparatively decent result?
Well, we all know so far this same strategy has been employed time and again in both cricket and football with shameless bravado and inconsequential results. Well, of course with the exception of the Gothia Football Cup where Dhaka league stars played against U-14 children of the world and became champions for the vulgar satisfaction of a shameless people.
So why repeat the same process again? To be point-blank what is the real age of some of the players who were in the U-23 squad now drafted as U-19? To be honest, most of them are over 19 years of age. Well, no doubt these are good players playing for a long time in the leagues and with them Bangladesh may post a few wins with the associate members but is it worth it and at what expense? The genuine U-19 players capable and some as good as these players, who have proved themselves with match winning performances in the leagues, will be deprived and some seriously discouraged as these players will start believing that there is no justice within the selection process.
Considering the fact that this is an age where they have to seriously decide (especially with parental censure) whether they will pursue a sporting career or opt for an academic one, it is pertinent that these right-aged players are treated properly and fairly. A U-19, U-17 or U-15 should believe that he is good enough for his age group and should never be pitted against players older then their age group. In the long run, this will allow the Bangladesh cricket to have the option to choose from a larger selection and stop discouraging talented, educated and intelligent cricketers from leaving the game.
Another peculiarity observed in the U-19 selection process was the automatic inclusion of players who were sent to play for minor tourneys in England. We are all well aware of the process of how these boys got nominated by the selectors and sent as a goodwill gesture.
Considering that these games are principally non-competitive with pot-bellied middle-aged pommies more eager to steal a smoke in the boundary lines then hold a catch, played for fun rather then competition, it can be said with considerable certainty that the nomination process rife with nepotism is a crude stepping stone of fast tracking otherwise ordinary boys into the development squad without actually testing and comparing their skills and techniques with the truly talented bunch who hone their skills through playing real, gruelling matches in the league and hence are deprived of their much deserving spot in the national age group squads.
An interesting point worth noting is whereas the national age squad predominately consists of students of the BKSP (the venue for national camps and provider of assistant coaches), non-BKSP trained players usually dominate the national leagues. Do these BKSP players get undue advantage in the age group squads, or do the BKSP coaches manipulate their selection by misguiding the international coaches? Otherwise what happens to these so-called BKSP talents in open competition? How come there is no BKSP talent in the national squad as good as non-BKSP trained players like Bashar, Rajin, Alok, Masrafee? In fact, how many age group BKSP talents eventually make the national grade? This is one discrepancy Dave Whatmore and the new coach should have a very close look at.
So far Dave Whatmore has at least instilled some dignity in our team. The Australian tour and the Pakistan tour have proved that the Whatmore magic has transformed a bunch of compulsive losers into a team that well may steal a win or two.
And big Dave can bet his shoes that with a cricket-mad nation behind him every positive move he makes will be whole-heartedly supported and appreciated. In Pakistan, we were deprived of at least one ODI win and a history-making Test win not due to lack of skills but due to a mindset that has never been educated to win. I wonder whether Mr. Whatmore has noticed that despite English being a second language for Bangladeshi’s for more then 200 years how few of his players are well conversant in the language? Where are the intelligent players who have the skills as well as the mental fortitude to be winners?
There is good news that another Australian coach under the guidance of Dave Whatmore will take charge of the U-19 team. The bad news is there is an indecent haste to downsize the camp number before the Australian coach takes charge (It is presumed the downsizing will retain as usual over-aged and malleable players predominately non-English speaking players; well the selector and local coach must have some extra authority on the players bypassing the real foreign coach; otherwise, how could it be possible for a BKSP coach to travel to Australia as interpreter, when English is mandatory in schools in Bangladesh!).
The downsizing should be postponed till the new coach takes charge. It is important that the new coach responsible for the team should be allowed to judge the players independently; should be privy to all information on the primarily selected boys, and should also have authority to include newly founded talent as well as ascertain the real age of the players and in consultation with Dave Whatmore right-size the team. Otherwise, as far as development is concerned this will be another farcical saga in a never-ending story of self-defeatism.
Dave Whatmore is well aware how good players can unnecessarily remain in the wilderness in Bangladesh (Rajin Saleh after being ignored for a long three years was finally rediscovered and proved Dave Whatmore right). In a recent interview Whatmore questions why Rajin did not play before? The answer is simple. He was sidelined and not given the opportunity to perform before international coaches the same way some of the talented U-19 campers will be sidelined now before their international coach can assess them properly.
There are young talented players like Rajin who have been coached by dedicated local coaches too shy to kiss up to officialdom waiting to be discovered. With his eye for talent who knows Bangladesh could be Dave Whatmore’s biggest prize—a Second World Cup—plus the gratitude of a 130 million strong cricket mad nation. We can help him do that by stopping our self-deception and we should do it now.

Source: Holiday
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Old September 26, 2003, 10:35 PM
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fwullah fwullah is offline
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Default 2 contradictory articles - BKSP

Desperately seeking a six-hitter!
Rabeed Imam

Watching his batsmen struggling to accelerate under perfect batting conditions in the one-day international series against Pakistan, Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore must have wished he had a Ricardo Powell or a Shahid Afridi at his disposal.

The dearth of a striker, a specialist batsman who can throw his bat around and totally dominate the opposition bowling and clear the boundary on a regular basis, was the single most significant factor behind the Tigers' timid showing in the one-dayers and the jury is out that this team is a far better Test side than they are in the shorter version.

Indeed Bangladesh lacked that defining touch and paid heavily for it. Whenever the Pakistanis were in trouble or struggling to push the score, they had a Yousuf Youhana or an Inzamamul Haq to fall back on. Inevitably, Youhana, Inzamam or even Abdul Razzaq would come in and stroke the ball all around the park to take away the advantage from the tourists. On the other hand, Bangladesh would find themselves in positions which almost every other Test-playing nation would have capitalised on but just couldn't up the tempo when it was needed.

Bangladesh chased runs in four of the five one-day matches and apart from the no-contest in the first game, they could have really put Pakistan under pressure batting second in the other three if only one or two batsmen had showed a bit more bravado.

Hannan Sarker, Rajin Saleh, Alok Kapali all made good scores throughout the series, all spent a lot of time out in the middle but when it was required of them to open their shoulders, they in turn just opened up the perennial deficiency of the side -- the absence of a six-hitter.

In Tests, this weakness doesn't pose that much of a problem because there is ample time to score the runs and there's hardly any need for going over the top too often. But it's altogether a different story in one-day games.

In world cricket, every other team posses two or even more individuals in their one-day batting orders with the ability to hit sixes whenever necessary.

Almost all the top-order batsmen in the Australian (Mathew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Andrew Symonds, Darren Lehmann, Damien Martyn), West Indian (Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Brian Lara, Marlon Samuels, Rannaresh Sarwan, Ricardo Powell) and New Zealand (Nathan Astle, Stephen Fleming, Craig McMillan, Chris Cairns, Scott Styris) lineups have big hitting abilities. India (Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Virendar Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh), Pakistan (Inzamam, Youhana, Razzaq, Younis Khan ) South Africa (Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock) England (Marcus Trescothick, Graeme Thorpe, Andrew Flintoff, Vikram Solanki), Sri Lanka (Sanath Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Upul Chandana) and Zimbabwe (Grant Flower, Stuart Carlisle, Mark Vermeulen, Andy Blignaut, Heath Streak) too are well equipped.

Not having a single batsman with similar qualities has often forced Bangladesh to send tail-enders like Mashrafee-bin Mortuza or Mohammad Rafique to accelerate the scoring. The ploy hasn't worked so far.

So what prevents perfectly strong and fit youngsters like Saleh, Kapali, Mushfiqur Rahman or Tushar Imran from adding that extra dimension to their game?

There's no point in blaming the players for their inability to play big shots as often as we would like or more importantly, the team would like. They are just products of a system that is inadvertently destroying the natural flair in individuals.

Big hitting is an art and it is very different from slogging. You can't teach or coach a player to hit sixes, the urge has to come from within. But that urge is being strangulated.

The ever-growing popularity of cricket has seen a mushroom growth in the number of coaching clinics and coaches all over the country. Most of the coaches are forcing their pupils to bat straight and in an orthodox way while discouraging anything other than the ordinary. The result is a generation of 'decent' batsmen who play by the book but don't have the heart to be adventurous.

Our batsmen can't take the advantage of the first fifteen overs when only three fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle as they are afraid of going over the top. In the middle of the innings, they get stuck and the run rate begins to come down when it should be pushing up. They are found seriously wanting again in the slog overs when a few sixes can do a world of good.

The hard fact is that even if they have all their wickets standing, this Bangladesh team won't get past the 250 mark in 50 overs nine times out of ten. That is never an adequate total against any opponent considering our limited bowling resources. The same theory applies if we are chasing a target. Given this glum scenario, it's difficult to see a win in the abridged version in near future unless we are extremely lucky.

Whatmore must be anxious to unearth a couple of youngsters who can really whack the ball before the start of the one-day series against England but he'll have his work cut out.

Looking around the domestic cricket scene, there are only three cricketers who come to mind who can still do the job for the Tigers-- the estranged former Bangladesh captain Naimur Rahman, Abahani's all-rounder Rahul Neeyamur Rashid and the out of favour opener Al-Shahriar.

Incidentally, all three are products of the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan (BKSP) where their natural aggressive qualities were never ignored by coaches who understood the importance of power-play.

The trio can clear the fence with effortless ease but they are in their late twenties and are the last torch-bearers of the big-hitting breed. The rest of the cupboard is frighteningly bare. You could actually count the number of over-boundaries hit by local batsmen in all domestic competitions last season with your fingertips and that's no exaggeration.

Cricket in this country has gone through some radical changes over the last decade with the focus shifting to technique and perfection. That's fine as long as we don't compromise with God-given talent.

Not everyone can hit sixes at will. It requires a special kind of talent and guts to throw caution to the wind. Maybe Whatmore is already working on a plan to change the misconception that good basic and big hitting don't go together. Maybe the search for the illusive braveheart will not take us that long.

Source: Daily Star
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Old September 26, 2003, 11:55 PM
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Mahmood Mahmood is offline
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2nd one makes sense, the first one is from someone who do not understand cricket. The success of BD is a true success which he seemed to fail to realize. Scoring a century in a match where Shoaib bowls, is a credit. Or taking 5 wickets in 2 test innings against the lineup of Yuhana, Inzi is a credit.

He probably missed the whole Australia series where they played their top players.
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Old September 27, 2003, 12:07 AM
chinaman chinaman is offline
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First article seems overtly critical at times.

"We must accept that we, as a team, are the worst in the world of cricket.."
No we don't. We might not be the best but not the worst either.

"..our skills, development efforts so far have been meaningless, failing to spot talented cricketers from a population of 130 millions"
That's too judgmental, and even more so when it comes from an anonymous writter.

"Senior players of the U-23 squad were drafted and considered as U-19 players. Who are we cheating and why?"
Do you know your own birthday?
U-23, U-19 are nothing but pool of talented YOUNG players for us to rely on. Remember, those guys were not born to a test playing nation but were previlleged to one for the contribution of their middle-aged brothers.
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Old September 27, 2003, 01:12 AM
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Nasif Nasif is offline
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First article guy thinks he is cricket "Pundit", a big "aatel", too much talk too little substance.
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Old September 27, 2003, 01:20 AM
Nascer Nascer is offline
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[Edited on 6-11-2004 by Nascer]
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