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16 September, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Tigers need ‘quality pacers, spinners’ to fight in overseas conditions

Tigers need ‘quality pacers,
MD ABU TALHA SARKER, Dhaka
Tigers need ‘quality pacers, spinners’ to fight in overseas conditions
In this file photo BCB High Performance team stretch at BCB Academy ground in Mirpur recently.

Bangladesh has several games of different formats ahead, most of which will involve Twenty20 and Test cricket to be played abroad, away from home conditions. For this, the area that needs to be developed the most will be bowling.

The country has to take steps to diversify its bowling battery and improve its quality and standard for the above formats because the national team has to play T20 and Tests in the new cycle of future tour programmes (FTPs).

But it’s a matter of worry that there are no effective bowlers for T20s and Tests with whom Bangladesh can give a tough fight against their opponents. Those who are in the team are not good enough for foreign conditions.

At present, Bangladesh has no leg-spinner, chinaman bowler and quality quick bowler in their arsenal. But they are a must to play well abroad. So, Bangladesh must produce quality fast-bowlers coupled with good spinners to put up a fight and win in overseas conditions.

Keeping these requirements in mind, the Games Development of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has planned to arrange a talent-hunt programme in a bid to pick raw, semi-raw and skilled and talented bowlers—pacers and spinner—from the grass-roots.

This talent hunt was slated to be held in mid-September but is not being held because of the hectic schedule of all the teams, unavailability of experts, coaches and talent scouts at all levels.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) Games Development (GB) senior national manager AEM Kawser Ahmed told this correspondent that they normally organised two types of talent hunt programmes—regular and special.

Ahmed also said that they held their usual talent hunt programme on a regular basis for their age-group cricket teams such as Under-14, Under-16 and Under-18. But the special and extraordinary programmes to find skilled and talented guys are held less frequently.

“We’ve teams in every district, where our talent scouts form age-group teams at the district level. The teams, therefore, take part in divisional competition from where our talent scouts once again select the talented players to see their techniques, skills, temperament, character, game sense and attitude in competition. We then form divisional age-group teams with the selected players to take part in the national competition, from where the BCB age-group selectors watch matches and competition and pick the tried and best players for their national age-group teams,” Kawser said.

“The selectors pick 45 players for each team. Thereafter, we arrange a Challenge Series (CS) for U-14 and U-16 players, who take part after being split into three teams. The coaches, finally, pick up 24 players each to form the U-15 and U-17 national teams.

“We follow the same method to form the U-18 national team. In this case, the selectors pick 60 players to form four teams so that they can play the Youth Cricket League (YCL), from where they pick 30-players to form U-19 national team.”

He went on to explants, “This process is still in vogue and this method is followed in organising the CS and YCL every year, even though we've initiated a zonal competition to change the flavour of the competition,” Kawser told The Independent.

“From this regular programme, we organize an extraordinary talent hunt programme. Extraordinary means we try to find skilled and talented guys who didn’t come through our regular hunt. For this, we’ve kept some relaxation such as age limitation (U-21),” he added.

Earlier, the BCB held ‘Talent Hunt’ programmes thrice under the banner of GrameenPhone. The initiative was stopped for some years. After that, the programme was held twice under the patronage of Robi.

This year, the name of the sponsor is yet to be announced. But it is learnt that the programme plan has been given to the BCB’s marketing department, which will take care of the matter. It could be Unilever, who are with the board as the title sponsor.

Kawser said that they would organize a special talent hunt for pacers and spinners. They also have a plan to conduct a batsman hunt in future.

“This year we’ve planned to organize a spinner and pacer hunt programme. Initially, we had a target to hold it in September. But we’ve enormous schedule and business in the next few months. We along with our experts have enough business in September,” he said.

“We’ve to deploy proper scouts and experts to find talented players. There are issues of logistic support and grounds matters. There is also the question of players’ involvement. They might be engaged in games and competitions. Overall, we’re waiting for a suitable time to successfully organise the talent hunt programme,” he added.

“Now we’re targeting January because BPL will be over by mid-January. Top-players will play there. The other tournaments are not held at that time, though age-group cricket competition will go on. Some experts will be available. But it can be organised in the aftermath of the BPL. We’ve a plan to organise it in mid January. Our coaches will be freed and there will be no work at the field level,” he said.

“We’ll arrange the pacer and spinner hunt in tandem. There will be two technical groups in two places at a time. There will be no difficulty in playing during the talent hunting. We need just one or two wickets for it. There can be a spinner’s wicket on side and a pacer’s wicket on the other.”

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Rubel Hossain are the best examples of the BCB ‘Talent Hunt’ programme. Ebadot Hossain, Khaled Ahmed, Imran Ali Enam and Yeasir Arafat Mishu are among the current crop of players who have all emerged from the BCB’s talent hunt programme. Of them, Khaled and Ebadot have played for the country.

They were not in mainstream cricket. By picking them from the talent hunt, the board has given these players a special training that is needed for them to be potential and future prospect of Bangladesh cricket. Of them, Khaled though has played a few NCL matches for Sylhet. Ebadot has a Airforce job. Mishu is in the pipeline. He got specialised training after coming here. After developing his skills, he came into the mainstream. Maybe, cricket would not have found them, if there was no such programme in the BCB.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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