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  #1  
Old May 12, 2007, 01:16 PM
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Default “A big man with a big heart” – An exclusive interview with Akram Khan : ex-Bangladesh captain and newly appointed selector

“A big man with a big heart” – An exclusive interview with Akram Khan
Khondaker Mirazur Rahman

Akram Khan was the first Bangladesh captain to taste victory in the One Day Internationals for Bangladesh when Bangladesh defeated Kenya in Coca-Cola triangular series in Hyderabad in 1998. He played a monumental innings defying all odds in the semi-final place deciding group match of the 1997 ICC Trophy against Holland and propelled Bangladesh to world cup qualification for the first time. Through that win, he laid the milestone of current Bangladesh team, who are progressing after every series and recently qualified for the super eights stage of the World Cup 2007.

Akram Khan was the third captain of Bangladesh team in the pre-test era and captained Bangladesh in 15 ODIs. In his 15 years of international cricket, he played 44 ODIs and 8 test matches. He was well known for his big hitting abilities and played a vital knock of 42 in Bangladesh’s historic world cup win over Pakistan in 1999. He retired from International Cricket in 2004 after continuous ignorance from the selection panel. After his retirement, he briefly worked as the manager of Bangladesh national team.

Akram Khan, “A big man with a big heart” is still playing domestic cricket as a captain of current premiership champion Old DOHS. Recently, Bangladesh Cricket Board have appointed him as a national selector in recognition of his 27 years service to Bangladesh cricket. He announced his retirement from all forms of cricket with effect from 14 May 2007 and will take the office of selector from 1 June 2007. In his interview with BanglaCricket editor Khondaker Mirazur Rahman, he expressed his vision about Bangladesh Cricket, selection policy and domestic cricket.

BanglaCricket: Congratulations for your appointment as a national selector. Your feelings right at the moment.

Akram Khan: Thank you. I am very happy to get the opportunity to serve Bangladesh cricket as a selector of national team. Selection is a tough job, I will try to use my experience to serve the country in the best possible way.

BanglaCricket : You are the first test player from Bangladesh to act as a selector for national team. Do you think it will be an added benefit to your duty compared to others?

Akram Khan : I don’t see it as a benefit, team selection is a collective process. I will share my experience as a former test player in the selection meeting which might bring some new insight into the overall selection process.

BanglaCricket : You retired from International cricket at a time when Bangladesh were struggling as a cricket team after world cup 2003. Your comparison between that Bangladesh side with the current one.


Akram Khan : In our time, we approached international cricket with a completely different mindset. We found international cricket a very tough arena to survive. We tried our best within our limited resources but lacked confidence which I find in the current bunch of players. Now, Bangladesh play to win matches and our young players have won sufficient matches which helped them in believing in themselves. In my opinion, self-confidence and fearless attitude are the main differences.

BanglaCricket : Bangladesh team’s average age is only 22 and apart from Bashar and Rafique most of the players are very young. Do you think it is a perfect situation for a team like Bangladesh?

Akram Khan : It’s true we do not have enough senior players in the team, but these young players earned their position in the team and are winning matches for Bangladesh. In my eyes, performance is key factor not experience. If experienced players can perform, they will certainly get opportunity to serve Bangladesh.

BanglaCricket : We have got a feeling that we are giving national cap to players at their early teens and in that process we are losing some promising players. Talha Jubair can be one example. Is this the right approach for team selection?


Akram Khan : It is difficult to comment on this. Selectors have definitely tried their best to select the best possible squad for Bangladesh team. It some cases it appeared that “national cap” is quite easy to get, I might be wrong, but everyone has their own vision.

BanglaCricket : Your vision on the overall selection process.

Akram Khan: When I will take the responsibility of a national selector (the interview was taken on 5 May 2007) from 1st June, I will try doing justice to everyone in the best possible way. I believe, national cap should be a tough one for everyone. A player must perform consistently for 2-3 years before getting a national call. There might be exceptions but I will try to follow a consistent policy. At the same time, if a player is selected for the national team, he should get sufficient opportunities to prove his worth. Throwing someone out after couple of bad performances is not right, if that happens, he should not have been selected for the national team in the first place. I will make the selection process tough for the up-coming players.

BanglaCricket : Current Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar and veteran Mohammad Rafique are approaching ODI retirement. After their retirement, Bangladesh will be more youth oriented team.

Akram Khan : Yes, that’s true. Too many young players is not a good sign for a developing team like Bangladesh. Having said that, I must admit that these young players are the heart of Bangladesh team. They have placed Bangladesh at a respectable position in world cricket. They need proper guidance over the next few years, if we can assure that, Bangladesh will become a top team within a short span of time.


BanglaCricket : Are we doing enough to groom youngsters for the future?


Akram Khan : I think we are in a crucial phase of Bangladesh cricket. Most of our domestic performers are young and we have to select team from them. After establishment of national Academy, we have got a platform to groom youngsters for the future. We are now following Australian model for developing the standard of game in our country, I believe we are in the right track. We drafted many young players into the national team before their proper grooming, probably we had no other better option. We must revisit our policy for the better interest of the young players and the country.


BanglaCricket : What will be your policy to for the youngsters who are performing consistently?


Akram Khan : Consistency will be the key. If our current players who are representing national team perform consistently, I do not find any reason to replace them unless someone performs extra-ordinarily in the domestic circuit, with A team and/or National Academy.

BanglaCricket : There are calls from different quarters to include more experienced players like Khaled Mashud in the team. Your thought on this.

Akram Khan : I do not want to mention any name. If senior players who have lost their place in the national team performs to earn their recall, they will get their opportunity, no one should be considered as “out of probability” zone.

BanglaCricket : You have openly criticized current selectors for ignoring Khaled Mashud for the world cup and you later apologized through media.

Akram Khan : I preferred Khaled Mashud over Mushfiqur Rahim due to his wicket keeping ability. I always believed that Mushfiqur Rahim is one of the brightest prospects of Bangladesh cricket, and I wanted to give him some more time before drafting him into the world stage. Selectors took a brave decision and that has paid off.

BanglaCricket : Our domestic performers are not performing well when given opportunity at the national level. Faisal Hossain and Ehsanul Haque are few examples, any explanation for that?


Akram Khan : There is huge difference between the standard of our domestic cricket and international cricket. We must reduce the gap for the better interest of Bangladesh Cricket.

BanglaCricket : How can we reduce the gap?

Akram Khan : It’s difficult to raise the standard overnight, we should adopt a long term policy to develop domestic cricket. I have got some proposals and I will try to submit them to BCB in course of time. As a first step, we must improve the cricket infrastructure of our first class venues including the pitches.

BanglaCricket : You are taking the responsibility at a time when our ODI captaincy is going to be changed due to Bashar’s retirement. Do you think Ashraful is the right choice for the job?

Akram Khan: Yes, I think Mohammad Ashraful is the right man for the job. We initially thought about Shahriar Nafees, but he failed to live up to expectation especially against top teams and he must work with his techniques and temperaments. On the other hand, Ashraful is an experienced campaigner and is a core player of the team. He also has domestic captaincy experience. I think captaincy will add more responsibility to Ashraful’s batting and he will come out of his age.

BanglaCricket : Bangladesh has done pretty well in the ODI in recent past with a young team. We haven’t played test matches for a while. Do you think young players like Tamim Iqbal, Sakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim should be included in the test side?

Akram Khan:
Anyone who is performing well should be included in the test side. At the same time, test cricket is a different ball game; we should take sensible decision before picking too many youngsters for the test team. All the players you mentioned have bright future ahead and they will certainly make it to the test squad in near future.

BanglaCricket: In that case do you prefer two separate teams for tests and ODI?

Akram Khan : Not really. There will be changes of two or three players for both forms of the game. We do not have sufficient players to make completely two different teams and that is not required.

BanglaCricket : Do you think Bangladesh is on the right track to become a top cricket playing country before next world cup?


Akram Khan :
Bangladesh have progressed over the last few years. Current coach Dav Whatmore has played some role in that development. Development has no defined limit, he could have done better but at least he managed to win a good number of matches. Now we must work on the laid platform to develop it further. We need specialist coaches to work with the technique of our players and Academy can play a key role in this regard. I am very much hopeful about the future of Bangladesh cricket.

BanglaCricket : You are representing a cricketing family. One of your nephew Tamim Iqbal is currently playing in the national team and his elder brother Nafis Iqbal played for Bangladesh in the last couple of years. Do you think it will make your job as a selector difficult?

Akram Khan : Absolutely not. I have served Bangladesh cricket for a long time. I always maintained dignity throughout my cricket career and placed national interest above personal interests. I will maintain the same standard as a selector.


BanglaCricket : Have you heard about BanglaCricket or ever visited the site?


Akram Khan: Yes, off course. I often visit the site and I am well aware of the forum.

BanglaCricket:
Your words for the cricket fans.

Akram Khan: I am very grateful to all Bangladeshi fans home and abroad for supporting me throughout my career. Selection is a thankless job, you will be always under criticism for almost every decision. I have taken the job for developing Bangladesh cricket to a new level. I seek co-operation from everyone. I hope with the blessings of the Almighty Allah, I will be successful in my mission.

BanglaCricket : We are really grateful for your valuable time. Many thanks for this interview within the busy schedule.


Akram Khan : Thank you.





(As promised, I am publishing the the interview. Before publishing it as an article, it will go through the editorial vetting process. Apologies for the delay)
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Last edited by Miraz; May 12, 2007 at 01:58 PM..
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  #2  
Old May 12, 2007, 01:40 PM
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Great interview.
Quote:
I will make the selection process tough for the up-coming players.
That about sums it up.
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  #3  
Old May 12, 2007, 01:42 PM
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So the big man speaks with heart..thanks
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  #4  
Old May 12, 2007, 01:45 PM
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Its really nice interview. Thankx Miraz.
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  #5  
Old May 12, 2007, 02:01 PM
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Hmmm I am a bit worried. From the interview it seems he was contrdictory about his stance on young players. ON one hand he says he does not think too many youngsters in the team is good, on the other hand he says he will choose based on performance and not experience. I just hope we dont go backwards. We should always choose based on performance and not age of the player. Please be proactive and do not follow age old methods. We should be dynamic in what we do. Performance should be the key. Otherwise we will end up with rubbish squads like the one we got for the test series against India.
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Old May 12, 2007, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miraz
BanglaCricket : Have you heard about BanglaCricket or ever visited the site?

Akram Khan: Yes, off course. I often visit the site and I am well aware of the forum.
OUCH!
Sobai dekhi ajkal Banglacricket e ghuraghuri kore! Better be watchfull about what I (read WE) write.

Great Interview!!
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  #7  
Old May 12, 2007, 02:08 PM
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One again excellent work, Miraz Bhai.
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  #8  
Old May 12, 2007, 02:10 PM
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Good Job Miraj Bhai.

PS: Whenever you open a thread for a front page bulletin, then please post the whole article, just like the above one, and also the link as well.
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  #9  
Old May 12, 2007, 03:43 PM
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Miraz bhai, great job... Every time you are raising the bar!
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  #10  
Old May 12, 2007, 03:57 PM
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He brings a good point about raising the standard of the domestic pitches. Everyone says that, but no one does anything, they still prepare slow, low tracks. I remember 2 years ago Athat Ali khan said the same thing in a TV interview that Akram has said.
I was wondering, is it that hard to prepare bouncy and pacy pitches? Or is it just the soil condition of Bangladesh and other countries in South Asia region that no matter what the curators try, they just can't seem to prepare fast and bouncy pitches.
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  #11  
Old May 12, 2007, 04:07 PM
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Well done Miraz! Akram Khan speaks sense on most counts.

I am a little worried about his take on Shahriar Nafees. He has not performed against top teams? Please re-visit his record...he should be able to distinguish between a bad patch and something more serious! Going back to Javed Omar was a backward decision, his 80 not withstanding!
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  #12  
Old May 12, 2007, 04:33 PM
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big man, big heart. nice interview. thanks miraz bhai
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  #13  
Old May 12, 2007, 04:58 PM
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Very good interview. Liked the content and his responses were poignant. Hope he delivers on his words.
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  #14  
Old May 12, 2007, 05:08 PM
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I feel Akram is going to be a text book kinda selector though his interview may not say but as he is as a person. we want a dynamic selector. nywaz,let seee wht happends...
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Old May 12, 2007, 08:03 PM
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Great interview. Very percetive answers from Akram. Hope he can match his words in action. Thanks Miraz bhai.
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  #16  
Old May 13, 2007, 08:09 AM
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Thanks to everyone for your appreciation.

Taking interview in one language and writing transcripts in another language is a troublesome job. It takes a long time to keep the essence same.
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  #17  
Old May 13, 2007, 08:58 AM
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thanks Miraz bhai
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  #18  
Old May 15, 2007, 12:35 PM
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Now a front page article:

“A big man with a big heart” – An exclusive interview with Akram Khan
Khondaker Mirazur Rahman
BanglaCricket presents the second installment of their exclusive series of interviews with ex-Bangladesh captains. Today we present Akram Khan, who was the first Bangladesh captain to taste victory in One Day Internationals.
Read article »
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  #19  
Old May 15, 2007, 02:23 PM
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i wonder if he wants to keep basher in the team?
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  #20  
Old May 15, 2007, 02:43 PM
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Excellent work Miraz Bhai. he has been there done that. understands more than us for sure. Let him do his job. All I wish is he leaves the Bangladesh Cricket better than what he had found. (Both Domestically and internationally)
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  #21  
Old May 18, 2007, 05:32 PM
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"Daily Naya Diganta" today published the major part of the interview without mentioning the name of BanglaCricket.

This is not acceptable.

http://www.dailynayadiganta.com/full...ID=22910&sec=7
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  #22  
Old May 19, 2007, 04:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miraz
"Daily Naya Diganta" today published the major part of the interview without mentioning the name of BanglaCricket.

This is not acceptable.

http://www.dailynayadiganta.com/full...ID=22910&sec=7
Can we sue them. to be honest i am not surprised at all. Prothom-alo has been doing this for ages.
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  #23  
Old May 19, 2007, 04:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miraz
"Daily Naya Diganta" today published the major part of the interview without mentioning the name of BanglaCricket.

This is not acceptable.

http://www.dailynayadiganta.com/full...ID=22910&sec=7
Send them an e-mail to provide credit to author/source of the article, or else the article to be removed.
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  #24  
Old May 19, 2007, 05:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatebreed
Send them an e-mail to provide credit to author/source of the article, or else the article to be removed.
this is the first time i heard about this newspaper..........ill not bother to read some newspapers who has no ethics and steals somebodies article without permission..........i can understand their quality.....

i'm sure the sports journalist of digonto is a member of BC. shame shame....
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  #25  
Old May 19, 2007, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatebreed
Send them an e-mail to provide credit to author/source of the article, or else the article to be removed.
its been already published. damn it. plagiarism, its a common thing in our country
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