Flourishing kids in Bangladesh

Shahryar Khan

March 13, 2002

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When Bangladesh squad is accepting humiliating defeats at the hands of other Test nations, one has to hang on with that common belief that it might take at least 4 to 5 years to level up the standard of our cricket. In comparison to even the weakest Zimbabwe, Bangladesh are still far behind. We located it while they take on the African Nation on our home soil only to mark off that the difference between the two is bulky.

In September, this year, Bangladesh is going to visit South Africa, one of the mightiest opponents regarding the game, to carry out two Tests and three one-day matches. Before that they have to fly away to Sri Lanka to scratch out a living, as Muttiah Murlitharan will be gladly waiting for another big bag of wickets.

So, the people here in Bangladesh, who are already used to the whitewashes they witnessed so far, will be looking forward patiently to digest another streak of horrible defeats. Nothing is going right for the baby Test nation currently - not even its junior teams could make any impressions in International level. The result of Under-19 is utterly dismaying and Bangladesh-A are striving for the first of the last two places in Busta Cup in West Indies.

The pain of the terrible performance of Under-19 in New Zealand is doubled by the controversies concerning some chaotic situations thrown up in the team. The rest of the players set forth some disappointing notes relating to the conducts of the captain and the team management. Nobody was expecting something so disheartening from the boys of under-19, who would represent the future Bangladesh squad.

The squad led by Nafees Iqbal should have made a lot better mark. They included Mohammed Ashraful, the youngest Test centurion and tried to snatch Mashrafe-Bin-Mortaza, the quickie. Mashrafe bowled too many overs for the last two months that ended up with an eventual back injury and had to take a lay-off. Ashraful (Except that 76 against Kenya) was a downright failure throughout the tournament.

In absence of Mashrafe, Talha Jubair is the fastest in Bangladesh right this moment. Talha suffered injury blow after playing a couple of matches. The spearhead of the pace attack was then laid on Shafaq-Al-Zaber, the lanky six-three left arm fast medium bowler from BKSP. He secured 9 wickets from 7 matches with an average of 17. 33 - good enough to bring him into limelight.

As for Talha, he is quiet fast. He has the mood, has temperaments and necessary aggressive attitudes - qualities that a fast bowler should have. But his frail physic often hinders his progress. Talha needs a robust fast-bowler-like body to make it up, so that he can bowl long spells without being too much fatigue.

Andy Roberts, during his short tenure as a bowling coach was very much optimistic about this kid, saying, "He is going to emerge soon as a real quickie bowling at 90-miles per hour. I have found a very bright future as a fast bowler in him. All he needs is to take a good care of himself and to be groomed by others as it should be."

Quazi Hasibul Haq, the diminutive wicket keeper, is another talent to watch. Hasibul is reliable behind the stumps and aggressive in the front. In Under-19 World Cup he couldn't carry off well (Averaging 13.80 in batting, highest 23, 6 catches, 1 stumping), yet he is young and has a long way up in front. He was sent to CBCA in Australia to experience 30-day crash training program, which taught him a lot.

The more these kids will get International exposure the quicker they will improve. One thing I found very conspicuous among the boys - as most of them are coming from suburbs and small towns (Even the city boys), they have a common deficiency in English, a language indispensable if you want to learn cricket. While they are sent to take up overseas training programs, they are well affected by lack of communication with their foreign coaches.

These things should have been noticed earlier.

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