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Old April 29, 2014, 03:43 AM
Zunaid Zunaid is offline
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Default BanglaCricket article: An interview with outgoing NCA Head Coach and Manager Richard McInnes

An interview with outgoing NCA Head Coach and Manager Richard McInnes
Zunaid Kazi

In a news that shocked and saddened Bangladesh Cricket fans, National Cricket Academy head-coach and manager Richard McInnes recently announced that he was leaving his position early and returning to Australia to take up a new position in a sports software company. BanglaCricket's Dr Zunaid Kazi caught up with the busy coach on the eve of his departure and had a candid conversation that we now share with our readers.

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Old April 29, 2014, 05:42 AM
Zunaid Zunaid is offline
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The full text of the interview:



‎Manager / Head Coach, National Cricket Academy Richard McInnes with BanglaCricket members Rabiul Islam, Sohel Nadeem Rahman, and Dr Zunaid Kazi in Dhaka, 2012. (File Picture)


Zunaid Kazi, BanglaCricket (BC): You are moving on to join a sports software company as a Business Development Manager. What exactly is your role?

Richard McInnes (RM)
: My official title is National Business Development Manager - Elite Sports, which is a little bit wordy I know. My primary role will be to liaise with elite sporting teams, organizations and individuals across Australia, NZ and Asia to demonstrate to them the value of the SportsMed athlete management system which serves to monitor, predict and protect athletes/players through detailed analysis and reporting. Check out our website at www.sportsmedcorp.com. It is the type of system that the majority of professional sporting organizations around the globe has in place or is seeking to implement to ensure thy get greatest return on investment on their athletes and also increase their chances of best performance on the field, but having more players available for selection at any given point in time.

ZK: Do you think that statistics, biometrics, and analytics have a big role (both predictive and prescriptive) to play in professional sports?

RM: I think statistics / biometrics / analytics play a key role in success in sport purely because human beings are creatures of habit. Players will do similar things in similar situations more often than not and as an opposition if you have studied the player well enough you can put the odds in your favor when it comes to where you bowl or what field you set, or where you might try to hit a certain type of bowler in pressure situations. In terms of biometrics, cricket is primarily an open, skill based sport so pure physical biometrics have less predictive or deterministic value as compared to maybe using it to identify potential 100m sprinters. However, within cricket it could be used for bowlers more than batsmen, and within that pace bowlers more than spinners as a talent identification tool. As an example, there has really only been one successful bowler under 6 feet tall in Test cricket and that was Malcolm Marshall. What helped him succeed was the fact that he was quite fast, was surrounded by other very fast bowlers, swung the ball both ways, and had excellent control and tactical nous. Therefore history will suggest to us that if you are not at least 6ft tall, there is very little chance you will be a successful Test bowler. That is why guys like Taskin and Manik are such exciting prospects, because they have what the successful bowlers have, height and they get bounce off a good length.

ZK: That's kind of a big career change?

RM: It is and it isn't; I have been involved with Athlete Management Software previously in my role with Cricket Australia, so it is not completely foreign to me. Secondly I have been coaching now for 20 years and I am looking at the next stage of my career and life, having just turned 40. Coaching is a fickle industry with so much of your destiny out of your control and at the whim of people and boards who may or may not have a good understanding of the role or influence of a coach. My children are also approaching a key time in their schooling which is very important to us. I was keen to find a role soon, where my kids could settle in to school and not be moved around during high school.

ZK: So are you done with cricket?

RM: I don't think so. There has already been some interest from organizations back in Queensland to be involved, so I am sure I will be doing some coaching in the future. I still really enjoy working with players and watching them develop, so I dare say I will still do some coaching, whether it is personal coaching or doing some work with Queensland Cricket, we shall see, but I don’t think I am done with cricket.

ZK: This was your second stint with Bangladesh. How would you rate your success or lack of it compared to your first stint?

RM: We achieved more in the first stint, but we stared at a lower base too, so by the law of diminishing returns we will improve less as we getter better. In terms of performances or matches won, it was probably similar, but that is not always a good measure of progress as it depends who you play. In terms of the impact I wanted to have and the goals I set for myself in this role, I was very disappointed. I had made a positive impact on a group of players last time and this time I was determined to have more of an impact on the broader cricket pathway and system, to provide a much better support structure to the National team set up. Essentially that was the point I had reached in my first visit here and I wanted to continue that work forward. Unfortunately for various reasons I was not able to have that impact and hence the underpinning systems are still the same and National team performances suffered because of that despite the outstanding efforts of Shane and Corey to try and prepare them well.

ZK: How was it different this time around?

RM: There were a range of factors that probably made it more challenging this time around. The political situation in 2013 in Bangladesh made life difficult for everyone, not just the BCB and cricket, so that certainly did not help. It was difficult to plan anything at any level as every time there was a hartal we could not get to the stadium, so we were trying to coach remotely a lot of the time. I was very lucky to have some of our local coaches who lived nearby or who stayed at the academy who could continue to run the programs during this time and they did a great job. In hindsight it was good for their development too.

Secondly, while the academy is a good facility and has enormous potential to be a world class training center, the numbers of teams who use it mean the quality of wickets and the ability to access facilities when you need them is quite challenging. Unfortunately facilities away from the NCA and the regional stadiums are quite limited and hence domestic teams need to train somewhere, which happens to be the NCA. The times when we were able to only have 1 or 2 squads training there, we were able to do some really effective work, but these times were rare. Previously, when based at BKSP, we had great flexibility and from a skill acquisition perspective we could conduct training sessions that were world class in terms of effectiveness for players, hence I believe they improved faster.

Finally, I think there was much greater interaction and cooperation between Game Development and Cricket Operations departments previously. To clarify, GD looks after everything up to the U19 team and NCA squad, Cricket Operations look after the A and National team. Quite obviously there is significant overlap in players and staff at the U19, NCA and A Team level in terms of players and staffing. Unfortunately the Cricket Operations department wanted nothing to do with the NCA based programs which made life very difficult to provide Shane and his support staff with really effective support for the National team.

ZK: You were intimately involved with the development and pipeline. How is the pipeline? Are there more Mushfiques and Shakibs on the way?

Given the inherent limitations in relation to facilities at grass roots level, our coaching infrastructures, education levels, very stretched talent identification network, I think the pipeline is still ok. It is one of the advantages of having a population of 160M people. You have big numbers to work with. There are some good players coming through, so I am comfortable that the players are there. Player development involves 4 steps, which I have been trying to explain to various people within the BCB.
  • Talent Identification - this is the easy bit, anyone can spot a player with talent and we have a lot of those.
  • Talent Development - once players are identified, it is then about getting access to them, working with them, shaping their attitudes and behaviors (this is what I think we did well with the HP program last time) as well as refining their skills.
  • Talent Management - once you have access to players, you get to know them, understand what challenges they need and how to manage their development so that get the appropriate exposure to situations where they will be really challenged, be moderately challenged or be able to dominate. All of these levels are important, but too much of one or the other will create problems. With the HP program previously, we had Mushfiq, Shakib and Tamim come into that program as 17 year olds, training alongside Mashrafe, Abdur Razzaq etc. For a year where they were the weakest players (so they were really challenged in skills and physically), and then they went back into the U19 program where they were the best players and had to set the standard for others to follow. This same concept should be applied to game exposure as well.
ZK: You had brought up Taskin and Manik earlier as exciting prospect. Who would you consider the 5 to watch out for the future?

RM: This is a tough question, given that I really only spent extensive time with the U19 squad, enough time to understand their attitudes and mindset, which is the key determining factor in international success. Based on that and because you want names, I will give you a few to watch out for. I am hoping that a few others will stand up as well and have successful careers.
  • Mehedi Hasan Miraj. He is a right arm off spinner and captain. I suggested that Mushfiqur would be a long term National captain when he was 16 and I think this guy is a better captain at the same stage. He also bats well but I also think he will be a very, very good off spinner and captain. He is an excellent manager of players and tactically very good.
  • Taskin Ahmed. Everyone knows Taskin; everyone is excited because he bowls fast, but relative to the fast bowlers around the world, he is not really that fast. However, what will make him successful is that he gets bounce off a good length, he swings the ball, and he wants to be the best.
  • Shadman Islam Anik is a left hand batting opener. He not only has as a good temperament for Test cricket but also good technique. He just debuted in the NCL
  • Ali Ahmed Manik is a tall right arm medium fast, who does not currently play with any teams. He is just 18 and has trained with Taskin for the past 12 months. He has an excellent attitude and is dedicated. At 6' 2”, he gets a good bounce and swing and is developing the rest of his game.
  • Nazmul Hasan Shanto has a great attitude and work ethic and the ability to handle pressure. He reminds me a lot of Mike Hussey in the way he goes about his game. He has to keep working on some technical issues but has the determination and attitude to overcome this.
There are plenty of others who with appropriate guidance and support could have successful international careers, but in the absence of this support they will not. Players like Mominul is already on the stage and will be a long term player as he has a wonderful attitude and work ethic to go with his skills. Sabbir Rahman Roman has all the skills and just needs guidance. [Mosaddeq Hossain] Saikat is abundantly talented, but will need to expand his game to compete against smart players.
ZK: What would you say are the critical issues that are getting in the way Bangladesh Cricket?
RM: Primarily, board and governance structure that is inefficient primarily through having too many people, making decision making almost impossible. There are some really good people involved, but they are swamped by the sheer volume of numbers. My understanding is the conventional wisdom would suggest a board of 6 to 9 independent and skilled directors is ideal. The BCB has 27!!!
On the back of refining the above structures, I then think we could see an improvement in the short, medium and long term planning of cricket in Bangladesh, which would in turn see improved efficiency and effectiveness in what is delivered and subsequent consistent improvement in on field performance.

ZK: There is always talk about getting the 'right' head-coach for Bangladesh. What should we be looking for in a head-coach and who are the top candidates Bangladesh should be trying to recruit?

RM: The right head coach, will be the one who is actually allowed the freedom to coach and manage the team and players as is required for international cricket. BCB has had a strong of very good coaches come through, but all spend more energy fighting the system and limitations which takes away from what they want to achieve or are able to achieve with the team. This happens in various countries around the world, but probably more so here.

ZK: Suppose you were in charge of Bangladesh Cricket and could make any cricket related decisions, what would be the top 5 (or 10 or) things you would do?

RM: This is what I’d do:
  • Review the governance structure, including the size of the board of directors.
  • Develop a strategic and operational plan with key priorities identified
  • Develop a consistent cricket calendar
  • Conduct extensive education programs with coaches and administrators to assist in developing the understanding of the requirements to perform successfully at International level
  • Refine First Class Cricket to ensure it provides optimal preparation for our National team and is also aspirational for young players to play.
ZK: Is there hope for us fans? You've mentioned in the past that most of our players are motivated by external factors and not internal motivation.

There is hope, without hope we have nothing. However what I will say is that if we continue to do the same things, we will get the same results.

ZK: Is there a future in Test cricket for Bangladesh?

I have to repeat what I just said about doing the same thing and getting the same results. Essentially we have to improve faster than all other nations, if we wish to climb the rankings table. Assume all teams and players improve 5% per year, based on their domestic cricket and National training program. We need to improve 10 to 15% and so we need to do all of these things better than other countries, not just copy them.

ZK: I'm sure you have made many memories in your many years in Bangladesh? Would you like to share any with us fans?

RM: So many, hard to pin point anyone in particular. In general though, I just like the people. The players are good to work with; they are so keen to learn. That is a generalization of course, as there are some that don’t want to work, don’t want to learn, but the majority of players and coaches have been excellent. The passion for the game here is something that many would not understand.

ZK: Favorite Bangladeshi food?

RM: Sorry no specific Bangladesh food, but I do love Asian food in general, curries, a lot of Thai food. But I generally don’t like to eat much oil, so that rules out most Bangladeshi food. My favorite restaurants in Dhaka are Japanese actually!! Clean, healthy food.

ZK: Things you enjoyed in Bangladesh?

RM: The passion for cricket and all that goes with that.

ZK: Things you disliked?

The stupidity of drivers in Bangladesh, which creates jams that don’t need to exist at intersections.

The constant desire to find short cuts, which pervades society, which in the end generally makes the goal further away or harder to achieve.

ZK: Inquiring minds want to know - "will third time be a charm"? Any possibility we might see you back in Bangladesh in the future?

RM: Never say never.

ZK: Would you like to share any parting thoughts with the fans on Bangladesh Cricket?

RM: Keep supporting the teams, try to stay objective and gather all the information before passing judgment.
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  #3  
Old April 29, 2014, 06:14 AM
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Ian Pont Ian Pont is offline
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"As an example, there has really only been one successful bowler under 6 feet tall in Test cricket and that was Malcolm Marshall"

Shoaib Akhtar 5' 11"
Waqar Younis 5' 11"
Darren Gough 5' 11"
Zaheer Khan 5' 11"
Harold Larwood 5' 8"

...just as a few quick examples.

The problem with myths is they are often not true
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Old April 29, 2014, 06:43 AM
jeesh jeesh is offline
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Great timely interview. Some wise and insightful comments and feedback.

But the self proclaimed wisemen of BCB think they know better which is why where we are today. One thought really stands out-why do we need 27 directors (And many of whom have no experience in cricket or sports administration). This is a surefire way to stifle ideas and freedom for any individual to work.

Paul Fabrace quit as coach of Sri Lanka. Three men were appointed the job to decide on next steps-Sanath Jayasuriya (Chief Selector), Ranjith Fernando (A person with immense knowledge) and Jerome Jayaratne (Head of Coaching). Three knowledgable individuals were empowered to take a decision.

Here at BCB nothing works without the approval, debate, and fighting between the members, directors etc. And to add many of these guys dont have much knowledge about cricket. A directorship at BCB-prestige and reputation.
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Old April 29, 2014, 07:13 AM
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al Furqaan al Furqaan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Pont
"As an example, there has really only been one successful bowler under 6 feet tall in Test cricket and that was Malcolm Marshall"

Shoaib Akhtar 5' 11"
Waqar Younis 5' 11"
Darren Gough 5' 11"
Zaheer Khan 5' 11"
Harold Larwood 5' 8"

...just as a few quick examples.

The problem with myths is they are often not true
Coach, you could add Vaas and Malinga to that list, both 5-8 or so. And of course Steyn!!! However, they still are the exception.

Zaheer, from my estimation is 6-1, same height as our Mashrafee. At the same time, 5-11 is very nearly 6 feet. I think he was just using a nice round cut off.

He did say "very unlikely" and not absolutely impossible. At the same time, one can't deny that height has its advantages, which made Mohammad Asif, not otherwise quick so deadly. That and of course his total mastery over seam movement.
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Old April 29, 2014, 07:18 AM
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This is a very very sad day for Bangladesh Cricket
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Old April 29, 2014, 08:27 AM
observer observer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Pont
"As an example, there has really only been one successful bowler under 6 feet tall in Test cricket and that was Malcolm Marshall"

Shoaib Akhtar 5' 11"
Waqar Younis 5' 11"
Darren Gough 5' 11"
Zaheer Khan 5' 11"
Harold Larwood 5' 8"

...just as a few quick examples.

The problem with myths is they are often not true
Thanks for your examples Ian, however, i would seriously question if Shoaib, Waqar or Zaheer are anything less than 6ft tall. They are all taller than me and i am just on 6ft. Goughy, certainly might have been under that. Even Vaas is taller than people expect and Steyn is over 6ft but looks small compared to Morkel and co.
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Old April 29, 2014, 08:55 AM
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Ian Pont Ian Pont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by observer
Thanks for your examples Ian, however, i would seriously question if Shoaib, Waqar or Zaheer are anything less than 6ft tall. They are all taller than me and i am just on 6ft. Goughy, certainly might have been under that. Even Vaas is taller than people expect and Steyn is over 6ft but looks small compared to Morkel and co.
http://www.banglacricket.com/alochon...&pictureid=755

I am 6' 2" and Shoaib is way smaller than me.

Goughy similar height.

Both Waqar and Zaheer quoted as being under 1.82m in stats (6 feet).

Steyn 6' 2".
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Old April 29, 2014, 08:58 AM
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Ian Pont Ian Pont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al Furqaan
Coach, you could add Vaas and Malinga to that list, both 5-8 or so. And of course Steyn!!! However, they still are the exception.

Zaheer, from my estimation is 6-1, same height as our Mashrafee. At the same time, 5-11 is very nearly 6 feet. I think he was just using a nice round cut off.

He did say "very unlikely" and not absolutely impossible. At the same time, one can't deny that height has its advantages, which made Mohammad Asif, not otherwise quick so deadly. That and of course his total mastery over seam movement.
Steyn around 1.88m (6' 2') the same height as me
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Old April 29, 2014, 11:17 AM
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Now that the thread has turned to heights...my question is should micromegas of voltaire play cricket?
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Old April 29, 2014, 11:29 AM
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al Furqaan al Furqaan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Pont
http://www.banglacricket.com/alochon...&pictureid=755

I am 6' 2" and Shoaib is way smaller than me.

Goughy similar height.

Both Waqar and Zaheer quoted as being under 1.82m in stats (6 feet).

Steyn 6' 2".
That looks about right. From my understanding Shoaib is 5-11 and Waqar is right around there. Neither looks very tall. Totally surprised about Steyn though. Maybe he just looks tiny next to Morkel and Graeme Smith, but I thought I read somewhere he's only 5-9. But in hindsight, he's probably much taller than just 5-9. 6-2 makes sense. I think Brett Lee was about 6-1 and James Anderson is 6-2.

I think Wasim is 6-2, Asif was 6-3 or 6-4, and Amir 6-2. At least that is what I've read and judged from pics/videos.
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Old April 29, 2014, 11:46 AM
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wasim is 6'4 - he was taller than Imran.
But while height is important (I think 5'10" is kinda a minimum), I have to believe strong shoulders, big gluteus maximus and powerful thighs/sprinters fast-twitchiness are the prerequisites.

Richard, bummer you have to go. I believe analytics are great but they should definitely be used as directional input along with what the eye sees and the on-field performance. Plus no metrics for attitude as of yet
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Old April 29, 2014, 12:08 PM
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Ian Pont Ian Pont is offline
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RM: I think statistics / biometrics / analytics play a key role in success in sport purely because human beings are creatures of habit. Players will do similar things in similar situations more often than not and as an opposition if you have studied the player well enough you can put the odds in your favor when it comes to where you bowl or what field you set, or where you might try to hit a certain type of bowler in pressure situations. In terms of biometrics, cricket is primarily an open, skill based sport so pure physical biometrics have less predictive or deterministic value as compared to maybe using it to identify potential 100m sprinters. However, within cricket it could be used for bowlers more than batsmen, and within that pace bowlers more than spinners as a talent identification tool. As an example, there has really only been one successful bowler under 6 feet tall in Test cricket and that was Malcolm Marshall. What helped him succeed was the fact that he was quite fast, was surrounded by other very fast bowlers, swung the ball both ways, and had excellent control and tactical nous. Therefore history will suggest to us that if you are not at least 6ft tall, there is very little chance you will be a successful Test bowler. That is why guys like Taskin and Manik are such exciting prospects, because they have what the successful bowlers have, height and they get bounce off a good length.

This is JUST my view but I don't think an extra inch or two in height makes a huge difference to bounce. It is usually speed that creates bounce, plus EXCESSIVE angle into the pitch.

However, associating a height of a bowler with speed is a red herring, as speed comes from factors such as range of motion, sequencing, speed. shoulder hip/body part separation and alignment. Height is not a predetermining factor in pace.

Interestingly about stats, it only ever records history and is not a predictor of the future. Much of cricket is second guessing and under pressure, a player reverts to what he is good at. But no two games are ever the same and using stats to predict anything is highly dubious.

I personally feel that stats/metrics/analytics have created a new industry for specialists and jobs for computer data people. We never used them at Dhaka Gladiators. Anyone who has sat through a 'bowl at the top of off stump' meeting will no doubt understand that the diagrams and video analysis stuff is very entertaining/prescriptive.

Bowling/batting for strengths/weaknesses has a place clearly. But it completely depends upon a player being able to deliver his skill.

It's always better to spend the time up skilling a cricketer, than plotting and planning strategies based on stats for a 'ginger haired, left handed batsman on a Thursday at a specific ground when it's windy'.

It might be very 'non new age' of me to say this, but winning cricket is only ever about being able to be skilful under pressure. I think sometimes people can get lost in a myriad add-ons that deflect from the 'are we actually good enough?' work required to be a better side.

I am not referring here to RM comments at all specifically, simply that generally coaching has become more about external factors instead of what a player is actually capable of.
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Old April 29, 2014, 03:19 PM
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This interview makes me even more sad about coach Richard leaving. Thanks for all your services coach. You really have a great understanding of the game and very knowledgable of the outside aspects of the game. Best of luck to you and your family in the future and hope you keep posting here on BC when you have time
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Old April 29, 2014, 06:17 PM
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When Watmore left, I wanted McInnese to be our head coach. After Pybass, I also hoped that he will be our head coach. May be, after his kid goes to college, he will come back as a head coach.
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Old April 29, 2014, 06:54 PM
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McInnes was a great coach for BD... I wish he was given more freedom. Either way I wish him best of luck because it seems like his decision to leave is more personal than anything BCB has done (though BCB hasn't done much for him to make him rethink his decision).

It's a shame he doesn't like Bangladeshi food, I didn't think that was possible.
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Old April 29, 2014, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RazabQ
wasim is 6'4 - he was taller than Imran.
Plus no metrics for attitude as of yet
Attitude would be the easiest thing to measure. Hours working out/in the nets outside of mandatory practice, without being told.

And Wasim was certainly of good height, but he didn't seem that tall. He may have been 6-4 by the same tape measure used by men 2 inches shorter than me who claim to be 5-10 (I'm 5-8).

Also Steyn doesn't have powerful shoulders, glutes, or Eddie George thighs. Tino Best, yes, Brett Lee no. But Lee and Steyn were obviously strong and had efficient actions that create and produce pace. Shoaib and Waqar were slightly more built and Shoaib got that extra pace because he had the hyper-extended elbow which essentially meant he was legally chucking.
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Old April 29, 2014, 08:47 PM
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And Pont is correct, I believe about angle and pace creating bounce. However, since the distance between the creases is always constant, and the distance from which various bowlers release the ball and "good length" is the same distance - the proverbial 3/4 - the only variable to determine angle is height. Thus a slower taller bowler can get more rise than a faster shorter one, all other things being the same.
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Old April 29, 2014, 09:54 PM
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In another news, Jurgensen is coming back and planning to stay on till 2015. Yeap so much for that resignation. I bet he will get a new bonus-filled contract as well. Nice job!
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  #20  
Old May 1, 2014, 05:47 PM
WarWolf WarWolf is offline
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We will be missing you coach.
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  #21  
Old May 2, 2014, 01:13 PM
M.H.Rubel M.H.Rubel is offline
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Thanks Dr Z for a good interview.
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  #22  
Old May 11, 2014, 04:43 PM
Equinox Equinox is offline
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I find it amazing that the BCB has 27 directors and there is no outrage over it! Who are they? What are their qualifications? What are their official responsibilities other than to give irresponsible BS statements to the media? To give you some perspective Apple only has 8 directors in its board and we are talking about one of the biggest companies in the world. Outrageous! These directors are probably each drawing six-figure monthly salaries for doing **** all. Money which could easily be reinvested into grassroots cricket or improving the quality of NCL, BCL etc. Talk about systematic looting.
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  #23  
Old May 11, 2014, 08:57 PM
jeesh jeesh is offline
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Yeah its a big issue. Ever time a decision needs to be made, imagine it being floated to 27 people. Some countries have fewer ministers than that.
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  #24  
Old May 12, 2014, 05:54 AM
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Alchemist Alchemist is offline
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This is a great read. Thanks to Dr. Z and Richard.
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  #25  
Old May 12, 2014, 06:02 AM
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Alchemist Alchemist is offline
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Interesting to see that most of the discussions on this thread were related to height (outside of most people's control) than talks about the real issues (that can be controlled and managed) behind the slow progress of BD cricket!

It's a shame that we've the Sri Lanka model in front of us (in the context of how to develop talents in a developing country) but our 'decision makers' can't understand this. Reminds me the story of the blinds and the elephant story. :-)
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