Former national batsman turned Coach Aftab Ahmed believes Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) should emphasise more on root-level cricket in order to have a good pipeline for the national squad.
Bangladesh are suffering heavily in the recent past for not producing enough backup players for the national team.Bangladesh had a disappointing tour to Sri Lanka after ICC World Cup 2019 and the absence of Shakib Al Hasan came into the fore during that time after BCB decided to give him a break to perform Hajj.
The absence of Tamim Iqbal in the just concluded one-match Test series against Afghanistan was felt heavily after the tourists defeated the hosts in the only Test match played between the two sides.
The result of the last two series respectively against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan raised quite a few eyebrows as it appears that the cricketers in the pipeline are not capable enough to fill in the shoes of their illustrious seniors.
“It is a matter of sorrow considering the way we were progressing and the recent dip we saw in the last few series which made us worried about our future,” Aftab told reporters at Chattogram recently.
“We have telling everyone since last two-three years about the lack of quality players in the pipeline. We have got to know out and out how important the pipeline is for national squad. We have suffered heavily due to the absence of Shakib in a series (against Sri Lanka). Even when Tamim Iqbal opted out of a series recently (against Afghanistan), we were out of sorts while looking for alternatives. We are very much dependent on them. For this, we believe that we should groom back-up players, because we will not get their alternatives so easily. Age-groups teams namely Under-14, Under-16 and Under-18 are very important for us in this regard,” he said.
“The coaches who are in the district level are promoting those players who are now representing Bangladesh. So, BCB should focus more on the grass-root level,” he said.Aftab said that the cricketers should be groomed from the childhood instead of trying to work on their technique when they go to the national level.
“We have to nurse the players from the childhood. International grade coaches are getting to work with our cricketers at senior level and thereby can’t help much in their improvement. They might be able to bring in small improvements but the big ones as it’s not possible in that level,” said Aftab.
Aftab raised questions about the foresight of the selectors as he asked them to give chance to the youngsters while added that the selectors should also pick players after they perform consistently at the domestic level.
“I have not seen a string of players in international cricket namely Sunzamul, Sohan, Rabbi. When will we get their service in international cricket? When will we devise a three-year plan? No doubt, Liton Das is a talented batsman. Somuya Sarkar is also talented. But I don’t know why they can’t perform. When Soumya came, he didn’t have that feeling for the national team. When he had been picked, he didn’t perform at domestic cricket,” said Aftab.
“They don’t feel that they have to come back in the national squad by performing. As we have a small number of players, we are being restricted to them. So, I think, they are all talented players, we should keep them with the A team, HP team when they are not performing well,” he said adding that patience need to be shown to the out-of-form players.
“We should not drop them for their poor performance and pick another lot in their place. This way, the condition will not improve. I think they should be sent on tours with ‘A’ team and HP team so that they can find some ground under their feet and only then should they be brought back in,” he concluded.