Siddons bids emotional goodbye
The final match in a long and winding season for Bangladesh cricket could describe coach Jamie Siddons’s tenure in a microcosm.
In certain parts of the game, Bangladesh were brilliant; Imrul Kayes’s belligerent 93, almost as good an innings as played by Michael Hussey on the day. At certain other moments though, they were abysmal too, a fact best highlighted by a bowling performance that was taken to the cleaners by Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting and later Michael Hussey.
In the end, it was an apt metaphor for an inconsistent three-and-a-half years spent under the Australian, the zenith of which was the series whitewash over New Zealand last year, and the nadir of which was the two shocking collapses against West Indies and South Africa in the World Cup, less than a month ago.
Unpredictability and a constant struggle to meet the demands of an expectant public had marked the tenure of the shaven-headed Siddons, and in his final press conference the Australian left behind a simple message: “Be patient with your players.
“These are all young guys, 22-23 years old at best and the best thing we can do is support them during their down times,” said Siddons.
He drew references to the dark days of March when two consecutive batting collapses on the biggest stage of them all had left the public and the press distraught, and perversely perhaps, led to his own demise as a coach.
“These players need the support of their fans and their press to get ahead. During those two games, all you did was criticise, while it was left only to me to pick up the players.
“So be supportive,” he insisted.
Siddons held his own quite well at the press conference and insisted that the team had achieved much of what he had thought they could in his three-and-a-half-year tenure. He was also quick to mention the three high points that marked the legacy of his tenure.
“We have the best all-rounder in the world in Shakib Al Hasan, and he has been at that stage for two years now. We have Tamim Iqbal in the team and we have Abdur Razzak, who is also one of the top ten bowlers in the world,” he said.
Despite admitting that he had not always had it his own way with team selections, Siddons insisted that these were the best 15 players in the country.
“My advice to whoever comes in next will be to stick to this group of players. I feel that if we can stick to this group for the next four years then it will be something very nice for Bangladesh cricket,” said Siddons.
But he did point a finger to an apparent lack of infrastructure.
“What needs to be ensured now is that the next batch of Tamims and Shakibs come into the team and perhaps the question needs to be asked whether we have the right kind of infrastructure for that to happen,” he said.
The Australian freely admitted that he would have liked to stay on as coach, and it was a view backed by Shakib.
In the end, the wider public will probably remember Siddons’s tenure bitterly for 58 and 78, but that would be quite unfair on a man who has done almost as much for Bangladesh cricket as his predecessor Dav Whatmore.
It was certainly no Indian Summer, but as Siddons himself said in the final reckoning, it was a good thing, and “all good things must come to an end.”
Courtesy of The Daily Star