Friday, September 21, 2018
Updated: Saturday, January 02, 2010
|"Bangladesh is on the right track to become a competitive team in near future". An interview with Jamie Siddons|
Khondaker Mirazur Rahman
The Bangladesh national team coach Jamie Siddons shares his thoughts on the progress of Bangladesh under his guidance, strength and weaknesses of the Tigers ahead of the Tri-nation ODI series, on phenomenal rise of Shakib Al Hasan and much more. Interview taken by BanglaCricket editor Khondaker Mirazur Rahman.
Khondaker Mirazur Rahman (KMR): How is your health? How are you coping with your medical condition and carrying out a physically demanding international coaching job?
Jamie Siddons (JS): My health is fine! I just had some minor skin cancers removed and all is well!
KMR: Are you happy with the progress Bangladesh has made over the last 2 years under your guidance? Where does Bangladesh stand now as an international cricket team?
JS: I am extremely happy with our progress. We have had two significant changes in personnel in the last two years. The first was the changes I made when I initially assessed the squad. The decision was based on my judgments on who I felt could improve and play a part in our World Cup campaign! The second was when 7 players from my squad left for the ICL just 12 months ago. New players who replaced them were up to the task and won matches against teams like New Zealand, Sri Lanka and West Indies.
We are still developing into a competitive team. I believe we are maybe still 2 years from reaching our potential with this group but are capable of troubling most sides at the moment. We currently have 2 or 3 match winners in our side, and have others who can hold their own in world cricket!
KMR: Where do you want to see Bangladesh at the end of your recently renewed two years contract? What is your realistic aim for World Cup 2011?
JS: My philosophy is to improve my players on a daily basis and to provide them with the environment and structure that will allow them to reach their full potential. If I do this, then we will be as good as anyone could have hoped for from this group of players! How good that is, we will have to wait and see! I believe you will see be a far better Bangladesh team in the 2011 World Cup. Letâ€™s leave it at that. I'm not into predictions into the future.
KMR: Does this group of players have what it takes to be the world-beaters? Or, will we have to wait for the next (or even further) generation of players until we get a team capable of being ranked within top 4-5?
JS: This group has the ability to beat any team in a year or two. We are gaining confidence and skills all the time. I am confident that current crop can take Bangladesh to the top tier of international cricket. They are finding their groove and the transformation will be much quicker than the expectations of most people.
KMR: Shakib al-Hasanâ€™s rise to the top has been phenomenal over the last 12 months. Shakib has credited you for his success. How do you feel about it? How do you rate Shakib as a cricketer?
JS: Shakib was out of our team (was taking a break to sit for higher secondary examinations) when I arrived in Bangladesh. I saw him as a player of huge potential with the ball. He could put more spin on a ball than any off spinner I had seen and had control and confidence in himself. I have given him opportunities and advice, and his talent has done the rest. His batting is fearless and when you combine this with his unique hitting ability and talent, you have a match winner and world class player on your hands.
KMR: What is your view on the recently introduced UDRS? Do you think it will be beneficial for weaker countries like Bangladesh who often gets harsh decisions from the umpires?
JS: We havenâ€™t experienced the system yet! It will be premature to comment on it. Anything that makes umpiring decisions fairer should be good for our young team.
KMR: Why is Bangladesh struggling in Twenty20 cricket? Bangladesh did not manage a single win in Twenty20 under your coaching. Do you take Twenty20 as seriously as Tests and ODIs?
JS: I think the statistics is a little unfair as we have only played 4 or 5 matches in 2 years. We will start to shine in the near future. We are just developing the necessary skills and will unveil them soon! It all takes time! We treat every international game equally.
KMR: Recently Bangladesh have shown signs of improvement in batting and spin bowling, but pace bowling have deteriorated significantly. What is your view on the strength and depth of the Bangladesh pace attack?
JS: We have never been blessed with a great pace bowling attack but have had some handy medium pacers who are useful on slower wickets. We have Shahadat and Mashrafe and also a couple of young quicks who may be OK in time. Our problem is that someone forgot to teach them the skills of variations and control during their development years and now we are trying to play catch up.
KMR: Bangladesh team is full of spin bowling all-rounders. Do you think Bangladesh lack variety and a pace-bowling all-rounder would have balanced the team more?
JS: No team has as many all-rounders as us in their team; we have a left arm orthodox/batting all-rounder in Shakib, a wicketkeeper who can bat at any position from 1-6 and two developing off spinner/batsman batting at 7 and 8. You can't get much more variety than that from all-rounder. We don't need a fast bowling all-rounder, we just need genuine quicks that can do the job. Spin bowling will win you matches as well. I am very confident that our balance is perfect at the moment!
KMR: What can be done to improve the level of domestic cricket in Bangladesh so that the players who finally get entry into the national team after successful domestic campaign are reasonably ready for international cricket? Have you advised BCB on this? Are you getting full support from BCB to implement your plan?
JS: This is a very complex question and requires an in depth answer from the people in control of this area. I have given my views to the BCB, but I believe it is a matter of getting our infrastructure right. We need to improve our development structure and implement a pathway that works. We must set up a great academy with very good coaches and structure, and only then we can dream to be a power in World Cricket.
KMR: How frustrated are you because of the lack of maturity shown by some talented players like Ashraful who has the potential to be a world class batsman? Why have talented players like Ashraful, Shahadat and Aftab failed to convert their potential into success?
JS: Not long after I arrived, I realized that the team and the country were relying on Ashraful to perform miracles for us to win games. I was determined to put most of my energy into developing others so that Ashraful would not feel all that pressure and so we could win matches even if he did not fire! I can tell you very confidently that we are not just about Ashraful anymore. Keep an eye on Shakib, Roqibul, Mushfique, Riyad, and Tamim. They are the future. I hope Ashraful will get it right soon. He is a diamond in the rough for us.
We all have to accept that sometimes talented players just don't succeed. The reason they find it so hard at the international level is that they lack some of the basic skills that are developed in a well structured cricket development system.
KMR: How do you rate Bangladeshâ€™s recent overseas Test and ODI series win against the West Indies?
JS: No one involved in our team has been carried away with the results in the West Indies. We know it was a second XI at best!
They were competitive and they expected to beat us. We are very proud of the way we played there though. We won both Tests and all three ODI's. I am always concerned with the way we play and the particular improvements in individuals rather than any particular result. The way we played Kemar Roach was exciting for me. He bowled very fast and our top order played him really well. This is how I judge my teamâ€™s progression not by a win here or there.
KMR: What is your proudest moment as Bangladesh Cricket Coach? Which is the best win for Bangladesh under your coaching?
JS: Again it is not some particular moments or efforts that give me the most pleasure with the team. Every win is special for our players as we have seen defeats so often over the years. I am looking forward to the next 5 months as we play many teams above us in terms of rankings and so we now have a great opportunity to see where we are at.
KMR: Bangladesh has tried 26 opening combinations in the last 5 years without much success. Bangladesh top order batting is as fragile as snowflakes. Where does the problem lie?
JS: Tamim has the makings of a world class opener, this is something Bangladesh have never had. Habibul Bashar was ok as a Test batsman but not world class. Zunaed is also very good but is still young in terms of international cricket. The step up from our First Class cricket to international cricket is bigger than for any other world cricketer and so we have to give our players much more time to adapt and learn the skills and the tempo of this level. Our number 3 position is also a major concern. These are tough roles to fill at this level and we are working on it. I have stuck with the same 3 or 4 players and as such these players are getting more and more comfortable in these positions.
KMR: Zimbabwe is one opponent against which Bangladesh is quite comfortable in both Tests and ODIs. After playing Zimbabwe 14 times in the last year, do you feel that Zimbabwe is on the right track to regain their Test status?
JS: I felt Zimbabwe were a very good outfit and can see them going from strength to strength, like us it will take them time to acclimatize to the pace and pressure from the best teams in world cricket. It's not easy!
KMR: Australia has recently cancelled their Test series against Bangladesh. New Zealand has reduced the two-match Test series into a solitary Test. Are you concerned over these developments?
JS: The International Calendar is so busy now. I guess some teams are finding it tough to fit it all in and our tours are the ones they find easiest to drop. They must all remember that we are in the competition and are developing. Every team has started at the bottom and gradually worked their way up. It takes time. They should be careful when criticizing us in the future, as it may embarrass them sooner than they think.
KMR: What are your expectations from the up-coming Tri-nation ODIs and Test series against India?
JS: I am concerned that we have not played a team ranked above us since January/February last year and so we may not be as well prepared as we could be. The jump from playing Zimbabwe to playing India will be a big one. Having said that, I have not seen our team plays as well as they are now. We are confident and I expect us to compete and make them fight to beat us. If they slip up a little then we will pounce on them and we can win games.
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