Monday, February 26, 2024

Rafiqul era ends

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) decided to terminate the contract of the national selection committee led by Rafiqul Alam yesterday in its 29th meeting at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium headquarters.
“It was decided in the meeting that their contract will not be renewed after April 30,” said BCB media committee chairman Jalal Yunus. “We will prepare very soon for a fresh selection committee. After April 30, we don’t have any cricket activities till late July. We will form a new selection committee by April, and we will try by this time to form the new committee.”
The board’s media release, a few hours later last evening, read, “It was decided that the contracts of the National Selection Committee members, which expire on 30 April, will not be renewed. The BCB president has been given the responsibility of forming a five-member team comprising Board Members to select a new selection panel.”
The current panel also consists of former national captain Akram Khan and former national player Zahid Razzaque Masum, Rafiqul being in charge of the committee since August 28, 2007. Former national captain Naimur Rahman was also part of Rafiqul’s selection panel till he quit in 2009 and was replaced by Masum.
During Rafiqul’s reign as the chief, the Tigers won 33 international games out of a total 111 games (Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 internationals). Rafiqul’s period in office also coincided with Jamie Siddons’s time as the head coach as the first assignment for both was Bangladesh’s tour to New Zealand in the winter of 2007.
Though Rafiqul decided not to speak yesterday, it was easy to point out the most memorable moments of his time as the selector. The Test and ODI series victories in West Indies as well as the landmark ODI series win over New Zealand late last year would always be remembered in Bangladesh cricket but Rafiqul’s reign had its share of bad days, failures and controversies.
Prime among those would be the inability of the Tigers to conjure up more draws in Tests as well as its failure to reach the World Cup quarterfinals and the twin batting disasters against West Indies and South Africa.
Though Siddons ended up claiming that he sometimes didn’t get the team he wanted from Rafiqul, there have been times in the past and even post-World Cup when “outside influence” reigned over Rafiqul’s selections.
The way the South Africa-bound Bangladesh A team was revised earlier this month made it clear that the selection committee was compelled to recast their originally selected team as well as the second string side to comply with the powerful “request”.
Despite the selectors being given full freedom to pick their team, emergence of a technical committee with influential board directors meant that selection panel were more inclined to save their lucrative job instead of speaking their minds.
Only the selection for the World Cup team was strongly fought by Rafiqul but some have pointed it out as a “separate incident”.
Since August 2007, eleven players made their Test debuts and thirteen made their ODI debuts (though some of these players were already part of the national setup system before Rafiqul’s reign began).
Batsmen Imrul Kayes, Rokibul Hasan, Jahurul Islam, all-rounder Naeem Islam and pacemen Rubel Hossain and Shafiul Islam were some of newer players who made their places regular during this tenure. The selectors’ inability to promote a number of youngsters as well as the way they handled questions regarding experienced duo Mohammad Ashraful and Mashrafe Bin Mortaza on occasions left a lot to be desired.
Though it would termed as a successful tenure in terms of results, one of the lessons for the next panel would be to fully use the freedom provided by the board although the same organisation have curiously, put up a committee to overrule this very panel on a number of occasions.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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