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May 31, 2005
Richard McInnes, the outgoing coach of the Bangladesh Under-19 team, has criticised the country's selection policy, in particular Dav Whatmore's habit of pitching unprepared youngsters in at the deep end of Test cricket.
"The Under-19s are a lot better players than they were two years ago," McInnes told The Daily Star in Dhaka, after watching the cream of his crop being put through the ringer during the first Test against England at Lord's. "But I also understood the reasons [for their early promotions]. These guys are probably the best in their positions in the team.
"I agree that it is too early to pick Rajib [Shadahat Hossain], Nafees [Iqbal], [Mushfiqur] Rahim ... and all those guys who should not be playing Test cricket for another five years," he continued. "But saying that, there is no-one in Bangladesh who will do any better than they will."
McInnes enjoyed considerable success in his two-year stint with Bangladesh, the highlight being victory over Australia in the final of the Plate Championship at last year's Under-19 World Cup. Many of the players in that match have now graduated to the senior side, including Shadahat, Nafees, Aftab Ahmed and the spinner Enamul Haque jr.
McInnes, however, remains frustrated that the lines of communication between him and Whatmore were not more open. "Unfortunately Dav never asked me [for help with the Under-19 boys]," he told The Daily Star. "With so many of my boys in the team, it would have been useful because I know what to tell Rajib [Shadahat] when he is down or any other player of that group for that matter. But it is not for me to go and tell him that. That was one of the frustrating parts."
McInnes now leaves to take up a role with the Australian Academy, and though he thought long and hard about extending his contract with Bangladesh, he realised that opportunities like this don't come along every day. "My wife was pretty disappointed that we had to move," he said. "She had made some good friends here but with a new addition to the family and due to some other considerations, I thought this was the [right] time."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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