'Almost no progress' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 30, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 30, 2013

'Almost no progress'


* Head coach of the National Cricket Academy Richard McInnes says systemic flaws in the BCB retarding progress.
* After six months of his contract '12-15 proposals' still await approval.
* Says lack of preparation before first-class cricket contributes to fast
bowlers' injuries.
* Fast bowlers 'will break' on the tour of Sri Lanka as they will have no time to prepare for the longer version after the BPL.

It's been six months since Richard McInnes's return to Bangladesh as the head of the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) National Cricket Academy (NCA). The Australian, whose hard-hitting High Performance Unit camps back in 2005 are often credited with having helped produce some of the better players of today's national team, is however frustrated with what he described as 'close to zero progress' since his arrival.
The 38-year-old in an interview with The Daily Star said that he was struggling to get a 'move on' due to the 'systemic flaws' in the board.
“To be honest I have 12 or 15 different proposals in front of the board and they are just sitting there at the moment,” said McInnes, who is here on a two-year contract, when asked about the changes that he had tried to implement.
“Unfortunately what's happened is that we have had the West Indies series, the NCL (National Cricket League), the BCL (Bangladesh Cricket League), the BPL (Bangladesh Premier League T20) and in between all that, the board being dissolved and the ad-hoc committee being appointed.
“The way the BCB operates, whenever there's an event on, everybody is involved so nothing else happens. I'm just waiting until all these events finish and then we get some decisions made, which is unfortunate because most of those proposals need preparation time and they need to be ready for the start of the academy programme,” said McInnes.
McInnes believed that the board needed 'managers who can take decisions'. “At the moment all the decision-making powers is with a small group of people and if they are busy nothing else in the business happens,” said McInnes.
The appointment of an under-19 head coach for the world cup in 2014 for instance, is one such proposal that has been awaiting approval since September. Another crucial proposal gathering dust is related to the pre-season preparation for first-class cricket. “The preparation phase for first-class cricket hasn't changed over the years. There isn't any. So it's like unprofessional cricket, it's not first-class cricket,” said McInnes.
The Australian believes that the players' injuries, especially for the bowlers, are a result of the lack of preparation before first-class competitions.
“The BCL I think was a great concept. That's what first-class cricket should look like. But it needs to have a pre-season programme, so that the players can get ready to play,” said McInnes.
“Almost none of our top fast bowlers played this year in the BCL. They are all injured. Mashrafe (Bin Mortaza), Taskin (Ahmed), Rubel (Hossain), Shafiul (Islam) didn't play. So there is an issue there with our fast bowler management,” he added.
With Bangladesh scheduled to tour Sri Lanka, McInnes expects harsher outcomes. “The players who are playing BPL now will immediately go play Tests in Sri Lanka. The fast bowlers are bowling four overs now and will be expected to bowl 10-15 overs there. They'll break. They'll get injured.
“You can have the world's best fast bowling coach, but you still won't be able to do anything because there are so many other factors that contribute, and we need to get them right.” he added.
Stating one such factor, the 38-year-old said, “Fast bowling is physically hard. The food the team eats is rubbish. You can't ask a fast bowler to have a body that's resilient enough to handle the workload if you only eat rice and daal (lentils) -- you can't expect to drive a Ferrari and put water in the fuel tank,” exclaimed McInnes.
Furthermore, he was critical of the 'timing' of the second edition of the BPL. With Bangladesh scheduled to leave for Sri Lanka on March 1 and with the final round of the BCL set to take place after the end of the BPL on February 19, there seems to be no room for preparation.
“Getting a bowler ready for Test cricket takes six weeks, not six days. The BPL will definitely have a negative effect on the tour of Sri Lanka. Our top pacers are signed up with the teams, but they aren't bowling as much because it's all spin. How are they going to get ready if they are not playing?” said McInnes.
Only time can tell whether the NCA head's proposals are heeded; but McInnes's reaction at the end of his first quarter suggests the need for more cooperation if the board wants to witness even a glimpse of the positive outcome that they had seen during his last tenure.

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