Monday, 7 May 2007

An exclusive interview with Khaled Mahmud, ex Bangladesh Captain and currently team operations manager, Bangladesh Cricket Academy.

Khaled Mahmud Sujon has served Bangladesh Cricket in different capacities. In his 8 years of International Cricket he represented Bangladesh in 77 ODIs and 12 test matches. He was the 3rd test captain of Bangladesh and lead Bangladesh in 9 test matches and 15 ODIs. He was better known as a “fighter” for his “never say die” attitude. Mahmud masterminded Bangladesh’s famous win over Pakistan in World Cup 1999, for which he received “Man of the Match” award. He retired from International cricket in February 2006 in the first ODI against Sri Lanka.

After his retirement from International cricket, he briefly worked as the Manager of Bangladesh National Cricket Team. Currently he is working as the Team Operations Manager of Bangladesh Cricket Academy in a bid to groom young players for future Bangladesh team. In his interview with BanglaCricket editor Khondaker Mirazur Rahman, he expressed his vision about Bangladesh Cricket Academy, Bangladesh Cricket and India’s tour of Bangladesh 2007. Khaled Mahmud gave the interview from Khulna where the Academy team was playing their first four-day match with Sri Lanka Academy.

BanglaCricket : You are working as the team operations manager of Bangladesh Cricket Academy, give us some insight about the Academy and its future plan.

Khaled Mahmud : Thanks. Bangladesh Cricket Academy is the new project of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) with technical assistance from Cricket Australia to raise the standard of cricket in Bangladesh. It has started its operation from 2006 and from the very beginning I have associated myself with the Academy.

The Academy is trying to provide a platform for promising and talented young players to groom them properly for International level. We always had a good U-19 team but after representing the age groups, players had no platform to continue their good work to make them ready for international arena. Now in the academy we have recruited promising former U-19 players and we are grooming them as a unit with sufficient match practices and international tours. We are also working with talented but national discards to get their form back and correct their techniques.

BanglaCricket : We know Academy is in its preliminary stage, does it have any structure yet?

Khaled Mahmud : Yes, it has. As 2006 was our first year, it was a learning year for us. In the first year we tried to development the infra-structure of the academy. The Academy is based at Mirpur Sher E Bangla National Stadium, and currently we have four dedicated coaches for the Academy who are working with the players to develop their game. They are,

Alister de Winter – Head Coach

Minhajul Abedin Nannu – Batting Coach

Wahidul Gani – Spin bowling coach and

Sarwar Imarn – Pace bowling coach.

Apart from these, we usually invite specialist coaches from abroad for short term training sessions. Last year Tasmania Tigers coach Tim Coyle conducted a training camp on wicket keeping. We have plans to invite great players of International cricket to inspire the young stars and conduct short term sessions.

BanglaCricket : Bangladesh Cricket Academy toured Pakistan in 2006 and recently we have seen both Pakistan and Sri Lanka Academy here for a tri-series. What is your plan with the Academy for 2007?

Khaled Mahmud : After the end of current series against Sri Lanka, we will be arranging conditioning camps for the academy team players. We are planning to work with the techniques during the off-season and in 2007-08 we will have around 200 days of different training activities. We are also planning to hold our camps in different cities of Bangladesh to accustom the players with different conditions. We will have two or three away series during this period.

BanglaCricket : Very promising developments indeed. Do you have any plan to send Academy team to play a domestic league in Australia or South Africa?

Khaled Mahmud : We are seriously working on it. The problem is both Australia and South Africa domestic leagues co-insides with parts of our domestic league. We are planning to send the Academy team to participate one full season of cricket in either Australia or South Africa, even if they miss one domestic season in Bangladesh.

BanglaCricket : The experience to play fast and bouncy wicket will definitely help them in future.

Khaled Mahmud : Exactly, we always struggle to play in fast and bouncy conditions as we never get those types of wickets at home. We are also planning make some different wicket types in our “Home of Cricket” at Mirpur to add some variety in the experience of the Academy players.

BanglaCricket : Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has signed a deal with Cricket Australia and we are sending players to Australian Academy to develop their game. Have you selected players for this season?

Khaled Mahmud : We have selected Sohrawardy Shuvo and Raquibul Islam for Australian Academy in Brisbane. Jahurul Islam and Dollar Mahmud will go to Darwin to play cricket in the Darwin League.

BanglaCricket : You were known as a “fighter” during your international career, are you trying to instill the mentality within our Academy team players?

Khaled Mahmud : I was never ready to accept defeat until the last ball is bowled. I regularly sit with the Academy boys and share my memories with them. I am trying my best to develop “never say die” mentality within them, but as a manager it is not always easy to talk cricket with them.

BanglaCricket : What is you future plan? Do you want to work as a coach in the long run?

Khaled Mahmud : I want to associate myself with cricket for the rest of my life. I am enjoying my current responsibility to work with the future players of Bangladesh. Yes, I am thinking to take coaching as my career in the later phase of my life. I have already completed “Level – 2” coaching in 2006 and I am planning to complete “Level -3” within next 2-3 years. After achieving required qualifications, I will start my coaching career. I will always prefer any position with Cricket Academy as this is the best place to serve Bangladesh Cricket.

BanglaCricket : Bangladesh national team is dominated by young players, do you want to mention the name of any Academy player who might feature in the national team in the near future?

Khaled Mahmud : I don’t want to name anyone specific but most of our academy players have bright future ahead. Some of them have already appeared for the national team and will get their place back with time. They are ready to fill the gap as some of our senior players will retire within couple of years. Among the current bunch of players who haven’t featured for national team, Zunaed Siddique, Raquibul Islam, Nazimuddin and Saghir Hossain are playing extremely well. They are making their presence felt and they need consistent performance to get national call.

BanglaCricket : Recently Raquibul Islam is enjoying some limelight, he scored triple century in the first class cricket. Pakistan Academy coach Aaquib Javed was very impressed with him. Can you tell us something about him?

Khaled Mahmud : Raquibul is performing exceptionally well in recent times. He was not initially selected for the Academy, we included him later after seeing his domestic performance. He is a bright prospect for Bangladesh.

BanglaCricket : Many thanks Mahmud Bhai for your vision and thoughts about Bangladesh Academy. Now I will ask you few questions about up-coming India series.

Khaled Mahmud : I am also very happy to talk with you about the Academy. You can ask me questions about the India series.

BanglaCricket : What is your opinion about the prospect of Bangladesh team in the ODI series especially after World Cup win over the same opposition?

Khaled Mahmud : Bangladesh’s world cup win over India was no fluke, we performed better in every department in that day. If we can repeat our performance, I believe we have the ability to win the ODI series.

BanglaCricket : World Cup exit at the hand of Bangladesh has created storms in India, they are coming well prepared this time to escape any upset.

Khaled Mahmud : First of all, Bangladesh’s win should not be considered as upset anymore. It does not matter how much preparation you take beforehand, it’s the performance on the field that counts. India is a very good team and despite some changes, they are still a very good team. Having said that, we have the ability to beat them again if our batsmen can play sensibly. Our bowlers have always delivered but we need consistency from batsmen to win regularly over tough oppositions.

BanglaCricket : I admit Bangladesh has progressed, but still the team is very unpredictable. We won against India and South Africa but lost to Ireland. Do you have any explanation for that?

Khaled Mahmud : I will again say, our bowlers are consistent but our batsmen are not performing according to the situations. The problem is the difference between our good performances and the bad performance is very large. We have to reduce the gap to become a successful team in the world stage. If we can do that, we will win regularly and may lose some match but that’s a part of the game.

BanglaCricket : One last question to you. Have you heard about BanglaCricket or ever visited the site?

Khaled Mahmud : I have heard about the site but never visited it. From now on, I will definitely have a look at the site.

BanglaCricket : We are really grateful for your valuable time. Many thanks to you for this valuable time within your busy schedule.

Khaled Mahmud : Thank You.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

K M Rahman,
It's a nice interview with one of my favourite cricketer's in Bangladesh. I do hope BCB will keep using his expertise to build a bright cricket future for Bangladesh.