At a time when the entire world has been gripped with the fear of the dreaded coronavirus It is interesting to note that all sorts of debates, discussions, reminiscences, anecdotes regarding cricket and its players have hogged the social media
not to speak of the print media as well.
There have been many observations that of past players, captains and administrators alike which have emerged during the course of interactions in this lockdown period between and amongst the parties concerned and interestingly most of their opinions or observations that have appeared seem to have an element of biasness on quite a few occasions.
The one aspect that has drawn the notice of yours truly is that while attempting to form an all time X1 of different formats of their own countries the players concerned have either chosen representatives from their own era's or from their own respective countries. Whether It Is lack of historical knowledge or downright prejudice in expressing their opinions and observations however could be anybody's guess.
Coaching as always has been an inseparable aspect of cricket due to innovations and changing times. Coaching methods and techniques have also not remained the same after technology and its nuances have offered diversified assistance to the coaches in executing their plans and strategies while trying to adopt their own techniques.
In Bangladesh during the post-liberation period, cricket had such names as the late Chand Khan, Bazlur Rashid and Altaf Hossain who were the first crop of coaches followed by the likes of Mujibur Rahman Montu, Jalal Ahmed Chowdhury and Osman Khan who had a certain technique that was almost similar to those of their predecessors.
As it so transpired that with the passage of time the thought process and the mindset of players and administrators alike started to experience a change and as a result of which the coaching techniques and methods appeared to be rather mundane and old fashioned.
With the gradual changes in the game and the slow but steady improvements noticed in the overall attitude and fitness level of players, coaches of the third generation like Sarwar Imran, Fahim and Munier brought about innovation in their coaching techniques.
The Bangladesh team tasted success under the tutelage of Sarwar Imran and after its induction into test cricket the need to introduce professionalism was felt and in doing so the BCB had recruited the famous all-rounder the late Eddie Barlow from South Africa in the early part of the year 2000.
Barlow, a legendary name of the 60's had a very important role to play during Bangladesh's nascent stages of Test cricket from where the seeds of structured coaching had been sown.
The introduction of Bangladesh into Test cricket coincided with the globalisation of the sport and its commercialisation as a result of it.
The overemphasis of economic gains and commercial value of the sport took precedence over everything else and as a result of which even the ethics and the morality associated with the sport seemed to be in a compromising state and hence had become vulnerable to the corrupters.
With the need to restructure its administration from the one-room BCB office at the Dhaka Stadium and shifting to Gulshan office as its corporate head office was the first step towards the change.
At the moment Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Mirpur houses the cricket operations and its administration with the cricket academy located adjacent to it.
The cricket academy has been part of the game development initiative and all development related activities are more or less carried out there.
The serious and most professional approach taken by the BCB was when it had initiated a high-performance program way back in the middle of the year 2000.
Richard McInnes from Australia was given in charge of the high-performance scheme and players like Shakib, Tamim, Mushfiq, Aftab and many others had emerged during that time and played the youth world cup in 2005. The administrative set up had also taken the shape of a corporate structure with the appointment of a foreign CEO by the name of Macky Dudhia from Zimbabwe who headed the daily affairs of the BCB which has continued even today.
Unfortunate as it may appear but the good work could have continued and taken a much larger shape that would have enabled cricket to spread its wings across the country.
Divisions like Chattogram, Rajshahi, Khulna, Sylhet and Mymensingh remained completely unattended and as a result of it a huge possibility of its potentials being tapped went begging.
The game development department despite being formed remained almost redundant for the better part of the period until the cricket academy under the sponsorship of Grameenphone was inaugurated in the year 2007/08.
Going by Bangladesh's Test rankings to number 10 does not necessarily give a great reading as far as the administration of the game is concerned.
Given that Afghanistan have gone ahead of Bangladesh in terms of rankings says a great deal, more so, as the team lost to the Test newbies in its very first outing and that also in its own backyard.
This in itself raises the question of whether the administrators have been seriously thinking in line with Bangladesh's future as a Test-playing country.
It may be argued however that things have not been as gloomy given its one-day credentials wherein Bangladesh have come of age and are presently ahead of the more established seniors like Sri Lanka and the West Indies as well as Afghanistan.
There was never any doubt about the potential of Bangladesh as a possible threat to the other cricketing nations given its mass following.
Cricket obviously has come a long way since the likes of the late Chand Khan, Bazlur Rashid and Altaf Hossain as the techniques and roles of coaches have been fully technology reliant. Roles like technical director, head of coaches, specialized fielding coach, fast bowling and spin bowling coaches and computer analysts have since become an inherent component of the support staff of most international or professional sides.
Decentralization of the sport has been a far cry so far cricket in Bangladesh is concerned. Basking in its one-day accomplishment can only be said to be a fallacy as the system needs to introduce a process that is long term based and a system that can produce quality test players good enough to compete as a test playing country as test cricket is the ultimate. Besides, the development of coaches, trainers, physiotherapists and curators seem to have gone into oblivion and hence the prospects of producing and developing a culture for test cricket is so desperately lacking that elevating itself from the number 10 position remains an exercise in futility.