• Thursday, December 18, 2014

Freedom in the air

Streak focused on pitches, grassroots

Sports Reporter
Bangladesh's new bowling coach Heath Streak enjoys a light moment with national captain Mushfiqur Rahim at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. PHOTO: STAR
Bangladesh's new bowling coach Heath Streak enjoys a light moment with national captain Mushfiqur Rahim at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. PHOTO: STAR

It is not everyday that a newcomer hits the nail at the right spot on his very first day on the job but Bangladesh's new bowling coach Heath Streak, during his first interaction with the media yesterday, seemed as though he had done his homework.
When asked as to what he thought was the main problem in Bangladesh's pace bowling department, Streak pointed towards the unyielding domestic wickets. He also emphasised on the need for implementing special bowling programmes.
“One of the big problems is that the wickets in Bangladesh are very different from those outside and that makes it difficult to develop fast bowlers. That's one of the challenges that we have got.
“But during the World T20 we saw that the wickets were good and it shows that wickets can be prepared to assist the fast bowlers much more here. Hopefully we can do that in the grounds here,” said Streak.
The Zimbabwean also hopes to identify a group of pacers who have the potential to play for Bangladesh in the future and start a programme with them.
“It's a part of the challenge. The new coach and I, we have to identify those bowlers for the future. And also put (them) in programmes. We will have to try and convince the BCB and see if they can invest in them so that they can go abroad and gain experience at an early age,” said Streak.
“I believe there are a couple of young guys coming through, so I am really keen to look at them.


But we have to get them ready for international level, see how good they are physically. Many youngsters whose bodies are not strong enough can't cope with the international schedule, so that's a key thing that we are going to have to work with,” he added.  
The key issues addressed by the Zimbabwean -- the condition of the wickets and the need for specific bowling programmes -- have been overlooked by the board for a while now. Dhaka Division captain Mohammad Sharif, after lifting the National Cricket League title, remarked that Bangladesh will not be able to produce a good pacer as long as they continue playing on 'dead' wickets like the ones the last season was played on.
On a similar note, Bangladesh's previous bowling coach Shane Jurgensen said before leaving that he had failed to convince the board to start a bowling programme.
Going by the Zimbabwean's intent he displayed on the first day of work, there is no doubt that Streak is aware of the gravity of the task that lies ahead of him; he is going to take the reins of a team that is yet to produce an established pacer apart from Mashrafe Bin Mortaza.
The other thing that the Zimbabwean is aware of is the immense pressure that he will be under -- a common feature in Bangladesh cricket.
“I know there are huge expectations, India is coming soon. But it doesn't matter who you are, it will take time. It doesn't happen overnight.  You can't go to the shopping mall and buy experience. Hopefully, by the world cup we can see some consistency with the bowlers,” said a cautious Streak.

Published: 12:01 am Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Last modified: 12:01 am Wednesday, June 04, 2014

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