September 5, 2001

Chappell wants players to learn from Sri Lankan experience


Trevor Chappell is no stranger to Sri Lanka after two six-month stints as the fielding coach and he hopes that his inexperienced players will not just learn from the cricket that commences on Thursday, but also from Sri Lanka's experience as an emerging cricket nation.

Sri Lanka were given Test status in 1981, but only won their first Test when Duleep Mendis's side defeated India in 1985/6. They had to wait even longer for their first overseas victory, which did not come until 1994/5 against New Zealand.

"The players can learn from the example of Sri Lanka and I would like some of the recently retired cricketers here, like Arjuna Ranatunga and Roy Dias, to talk to the players about their early day experiences," said Chappell

"Aravinda de Silva was in Dhaka just before we left for Zimbabwe and he chatted to the players, telling them that they may have problems to start with but must just preserver because, although this generation may not break through, the combined knowledge gets passed on.

"At the moment there is no Bangladesh Test player for them to turn to for advice, so talking some of the old Sri Lankan players may help to short cut the learning curve or, at least, give them more background, which helps them realise that they are not the first ones to have gone through this tough process."

Chappell remains optimistic, however, that despite lacking a first class cricket structure and proper development programme until recently Bangladesh can break through quickly into the big time.

"The talent is there," he says.

"There are 140 million people who are fanatical about their cricket, so its matter of putting the right development programmes in place to identify the players and then coach them in the correct manner.

"I am very confident that sometime along the line, in 5 or 10 years, Bangladesh will be a pretty strong Test side.

"I am looking for the guys to learn how to play at this level.

"They haven't played a lot of first class cricket in Bangladesh, let alone Test cricket, so it's a big jump to come and play countries like Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Test matches.

"We played Zimbabwe earlier in the year and learnt a bit from playing them, but we weren't able to put it into practice against Pakistan.

"There was no reason for it, as the wicket was ideal and batting is generally recognised as one of our strengths.

"We need to learn how to play session cricket and then how to play for five days, where we play consistently well throughout and don't have bad hours when we get thoroughly beaten.

"We regularly lose wickets just before the end of the session or drinks, but we need the guys to bat throughout a session, even if they don't score many runs.

"With the bowling we have just tried to keep to a simple plan of bowling line and length.

"There is no point in anything too fancy at the moment. We can look a more complex plans of attack in the future."