Bangladesh news April 28, 2011

'Very difficult to even want to bowl fast' - Siddons

Fast bowling remains a worryingly fleeting element of Bangladesh cricket. No international team can flourish without quality pace bowling, and the obstacles faced by any prospective fast man in Bangladesh are greater than most. The former coach Jamie Siddons painted a vexing picture of the pace outlook in the nation he has just vacated, where only the ageing and injury-stricken Mashrafe Mortaza has been close to transcending his environment.

"The first-class competition is very different, wickets are slow and low, dominated by spin, not always good spinners, but spinners tend to hold the score up and get wickets," Siddons told ESPNcricinfo. "Almost all of our first-class grounds are like that, so an opening bowler might bowl a four-over spell and then not come back until the second new ball sometimes. So in terms of developing fast bowlers it is very difficult for them to even want to bowl fast."

Paradoxically, the search for quick bowlers is also impeded by the conditions prepared to suit the home side in internationals. The surface at the Shere Bangla Stadium in Mirpur may be prepared more favourably for pacemen, but team management has been hesitant to do so out of fear that overseas visitors will take too much glee in exploiting the bounce. Nonetheless, Siddons argued the required pace talent was available in Bangladesh, and needed more thorough domestic infrastructure in order to tease it out.

"It's really difficult for a kid, there's not a lot of organised cricket in the right spots, so he's got to be spotted by talent spotters, which could be an ex-player," said Siddons. "There's a lot of academies that have sprung up across the country, that are not what we would call academies but they're run on park grounds, one coach and a lot of players.

"If they spot a player that is super-talented, they'll push them through and then filter them into Under-17s, Under-19s academies and that sort of thing. Players don't get the opportunity to play every Saturday like we do (in Australia), or school cricket at the same time in the middle of the week, that doesn't happen either.

"They might play three or four games a year, some kids, and some even less than that. I think it's organised, they're trying to organise it, but it's not as good as what we've got in Australia, and the reasons would probably be very varied, and I can't really tap into what they are."

A proving ground in the mould of the famous MRF pace foundation in Chennai would be useful to meet the needs of a nation. "You've got to find them in the first place, they're out there," Siddons said. "There's a couple of good tall guys who just haven't had the work done in their physique.

"I hope that's something everyone remembers now I'm gone, focus on the team yes but also look at the players coming up, because that's important, that's the most important thing. The bowlers will be there, we've just got to find them and nurture them and bring them through with the right system."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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