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April 16, 2014
Richard McInnes, the head of Bangladesh's National Cricket Academy, will quit his post by the end of April. McInnes, whose contract expires in July, was relieved by the BCB and will now join a sports software company in Brisbane.
The exit will bring an end to McInnes' second tenure in Bangladesh, after the Australian had enjoyed a successful stint as the Under-19s and A team coach between 2003 and 2005. At the time, he also helped set up a high-performance unit, a precursor to the National Cricket Academy, which helped develop Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim, among others. However, his work with the NCA this time left him frustrated as he could only help a few senior players and coach the Under-19s. The academy did not admit any players last year after the Dhaka Premier Division impasse lasted six months. The uncertainty over the league ate into the off season, which is usually the time for the NCA to train young players, and McInnes had little say in the matter.
"It is very frustrating," he said. "I like to work hard and make a difference. I am not angry, and I still think Bangladesh cricket will get better.
"It [the second stint] was similar to what I had expected. I knew it would be challenging. I had hoped to have more influence on the system, not just the players. And 2013 was a tough time to work in Bangladesh. Not much was done due to the political situation, so it is no one's fault. It was difficult to achieve what I wanted to. We haven't been able to bring a lot of players here but we have had some success with players that we were able to get to the NCA."
When McInnes took over at the NCA in August 2012, he filled a post that had been lying vacant for 10 months after Ross Turner's departure in October 2011. He admitted his first stint - with the Under-19s, the A team and the high-performance unit - was a more fruitful one.
"I actually think we achieved more last time," he said. "We were starting at a lower base but we achieved more. Maybe that's because we worked in BKSP where we didn't have to ask permission for everything.
"Here [at the Academy in Mirpur], the facility and opportunity is fantastic but there are a lot more complications. It is understandable because lots of teams are training here, like the senior team, women's team, age-group and club teams and international teams. In BKSP, it was just us. The programmes were run easily."
In spite of the disappointments, McInnes said he was pleased to have helped Robiul Islam, Taskin Ahmed and Mominul Haque progress at various stages. He also stressed that the system and structure of the game in the country would need to change to bring consistent success.
"We had [Robiul Islam] Shiblu in for a block of time before he went to Zimbabwe. Taskin Ahmed was with us and he went on to play in the World T20 and it went well," McInnes said. "Mominul Haque was also with us, but we haven't had a full programme at any point. That has been frustrating, but it wasn't lot different than what I had expected.
"When I left last time, I thought if they continue to progress at that rate, they would be mid-table in 5-7 years in the different formats. There have been some good players coming through but, in terms of overall system and structure to sustain consistent success, there hasn't been much progress."
McInnes was also made the Under-19 coach for a while last year and, although he enjoyed the role, he felt it kept him away from his real job of developing international-level cricketers out of the ones who come up from the age-group structure.
"It was never part of my role. I didn't mind doing it, as they are a good group of players," he said. "It didn't allow me to do things that I was supposed to be doing. We didn't get the Academy programme running because the DPL went on for six months.
"I think the youth pipeline is okay, but as soon as they come out of the Under-19 programme, there is a big hole. No one is there to put pressure on Shakib, or [Sohag] Gazi. Domestic cricket in every country is weaker than international cricket but our gap is bigger than most."
A few months after McInnes took over, Mashrafe Mortaza praised the manner in which the NCA and the rest of the foreign coaching staff were working. It was the right endorsement as McInnes was seen as someone with prior knowledge of the players and the system. But he will now leave Bangladesh without making the sort of mark he did in 2005, and this can be put down to a situation he couldn't improve.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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