Bangladesh news April 28, 2011

Bangladesh held back by indecision - Siddons

Bangladesh must grow out of a culture of petty politics and indecision if it wishes to truly develop as a cricket nation, the former national coach Jamie Siddons has said.

Siddons' contract was not renewed after the series against Australia that followed the World Cup, where the tournament co-host missed out on a berth in the quarter-finals. He was sad to leave the Dhaka suburbs that had been his home for three years, and admitted his own forceful approach to officialdom had probably played a large role in his exit.

"Everyone tends to know what needs to be done but it doesn't seem to be happening, whether the money's not there or they're just not doing it, I'm not too sure," Siddons told ESPNcricinfo. "I've probably said more than I should and that probably is why my job is gone. But I want them to do well, I want them to improve and I know the reasons why they're not, and I just wish more people would listen to me.

"In Australia if something's wrong we try to fix it and we make it known what we think it is, and that's probably not the way to go so much here, you've got to be more subtle about it and work with the right people."

Bangladesh cricket has tended to run on an overly politicised four-year cycle, with long term planning in short supply. Siddons advocated a closer look at other cricket administrations, and also the development of greater support networks for national coaches, the majority of which still need to be hired from overseas.

"I think they've got to look at other administrations and follow the guidelines, and put people in place that will fill those spots," Siddons said. "Get more coaches from overseas to start with, put the in the main positions, and get our guys to come in underneath that and learn and develop the players. Make sure there's a 15s, 17s, 19s coach, that may be it from overseas, and an academy coach from overseas, a very good coach, and put them in place.

"Look at how other administrations run their cricket, just take some guidelines from it and try to copy, try to follow. See how you go then. You've also got to pay good money to get people to bring their families over here to come and get involved in Bangladesh cricket and enjoy it."

The struggle of Bangladesh cricket to develop at a healthy rate, since a hasty addition to Test ranks in 2000, has been one of the less palatable aspects of world cricket in the 21st century, but Siddons argued that some progress was being made. "I look at statistics, you can't say 'let's go win and make it to the quarter-finals or the semi-finals', I say 'what are we doing? Are we getting better or going backwards?'," he said. "In the World Cup we made 200 four times out of six games, and in the last three World Cups we'd made 200 only three times in all of them.

"The five biggest run-chases in Mirpur were against us in 2010, so that means we've made big scores in 2010 five times, we hadn't had big targets chased against us before because we hadn't set those targets, and that's batting first against the big teams. Those sorts of things don't just happen."

Having returned to Australia, Siddons is now an applicant for several jobs, including first-class posts in New Zealand (Wellington and Otago have vacancies) and also in New South Wales. He will be an interested observer as Australia make conclusions about how the national team has lost stature over the past three years, culminating in the surrender of the Ashes at home and the loss of the World Cup.

"We can't stay a powerhouse forever, it's good to have reviews, it's good to work out what we think is wrong," Siddons said. "I'm sure everyone will have their say and hopefully the right people are going to sort it out and come up with the right answers. It's not always ex-cricketers from 10 years ago who can come up with those answers, so I hope they've got the right people listening, they've got some vision and it all sorts itself out.

"I know Tim Nielsen, it's not his fault the team's going bad, it's what's coming through and what was following the players who were there in the first place."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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