Monday, November 29, 1999

My philosophy is to invest in youth

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Dambulla, June 18 -- It is a cricketing truism that numbers never fully tell the story of Bangladesh cricket. The minnows have frequently punched above their weight and taken positive strides under coach Jamie Siddons. In a chat with HT the straight-talking Aussie calls it as it is. Despite the series loss in England, there were quite a few positives, including Tamim Iqbal's performance. Certainly. We played competitive cricket and gave England a scare. Tamim Iqbal was a standout performer and people will agree that he is up there with the best. If you look at the replays you will know how he was in total control against the England attack. He is a world-class player and my philosophy is to produce as many world-class players as possible. If I can create three or four more like him, Bangladesh will be a world-class team. How has this team changed since 2007, when you took over? Three years back there wasn't a huge talent pool in Bangladesh. Some went to the Indian Cricket League (ICL), some were in their late thirties and hadn't really performed greatly at the international level. So I didn't see any future clinging on to them. The move to go for younger players with potential is paying off now. In the next two or three years, Bangladesh will be a team to reckon with. What is your philosophy as coach of the Bangladesh cricket team? My philosophy is if a player is not good enough, replace him. I can't bank on 35-year-olds to give me a match-winning performance and then rue four years later why I didn't invest in youth. In two years, Bangladesh will have a team of 26-years-olds who have played together for six, seven years.My key role is as the batting coach. I think we have broken every batting record that Bangladesh ever had. Our scores have improved both in Test and one-day cricket. I know we lose most of the time, so if you look at the win-loss ratio it will be demoralizing. But if you look at the improvement in personal performances we have definitely achieved 65 to 70 percent of our target.

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