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Bangladesh turn to ICC for help

Bangladesh's downward fortunes have not only left the players clueless but also the Board officials who have started to panic.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2003 14:42 IST

Bangladesh's downward cricketing fortunes have not only left the players clueless but also the Board officials who have started to panic and turned to the game's governing body for ways to arrest the slump.

With a string of embarassing defeats in recent times, cricket fans have begun to turn away from the game. Adding to their disillusionment is the fact that the team is showing no signs of making a turnaround despite a number of remedial measures.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has now decided to have a specialist foreign coach and has asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) to recommend names for the job.

"We have approached the ICC to help us. We have received a list of possible candidates and had talks with as many as 20 former cricketers for the job," BCB president Ali Asghar said.

"The response was tremendous. But after assessing eveything we have shortlisted them to just four coaches. They are from Australia and South Africa. Hopefully before May 1, one of them will join us," Asghar said but did not divulge the names of the shortlisted candidates.

Asghar said the coaches could initially concentrate either on batting or bowling. "We have plans to bring some other foreign coaches under our development programme."

The two Pakistani coaches Mohsin Kamal and Ali Zia will return home after their contract expired on April 30.

The BCB was also contemplating appointing a foreign Chief Executive Officer to streamline the adminsitration.

"The ICC is helping us in this. I had a talk with ICC president-elect Ehsan Mani and he has assured me of providing a CEO. The official will spend a year here, helping to set up the management structure," Asghar said.

After a disastrous World Cup campaign where they lost all their matches except for one which was rained off, the BCB appointed a new captain in Khaled Mahmud and carried out wholesale changes in the team hoping to halt the sequence of defeats.

But the move hardly seems to have made much of a difference as the hosts suffered a humiliating 200-run defeat at the hands of India in the opening match of the TVS Cup triangular series yesterday.

With Kenya having made rapid strides in international cricket and even managing to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, Bangladesh are under intense pressure to perform having got the Test status a few years back.

The continued dismal show has thus raised questions about Bangladesh's eligibility to retain the Test status, particularly at a time when the Kenyans have lost no opportunity to remind the game's apex body that they too deserve to join the big league.

The frustration of failure seems to be taking a toll on the players as well and captain Mahmud who was simply at a loss yesterday to explain the woeful performance.

"I think we have a problem of application. The top order has been failing and that puts a lot of pressure on the lower order batsmen," Mahmud said.

He said the team worked very hard at the nets but was unable to get the desired results. "We have tried to keep our wickets intact in the early stages, but that has not worked out. The top order has failed miserably.

"Even if we score 30-40 runs in the 15 overs without losing a wicket, it will help. But we generally lose three or four wickets in the first 15 overs which is not at all good," a dejected Mahmud said.

First Published: Apr 12, 2003 14:42 IST