Rafiq replaces Faruque BCB announces new selection committee

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Former national all-rounder Rafiqul Alam was appointed as the chief selector of the national cricket team while Bangladesh's first Test captain Naimur Rahman was named a selector on Tuesday in the three-man panel that already includes another former captain Akram Khan.

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) announced the new selection committee following recommendations of a three-member selectors' appointment sub-committee, headed by Shafiqur Rahman Munna. Rafiq's appointment in the committee ended the four-year reign of Faruque Ahmed.

The new committee will take charge from September 1 and their contract will run for the next two years.

The 49-year-old Rafiq, who first played for Bangladesh in 1980 and represented the country in two one-day internationals in 1986 while also appearing in the 1982 and 1986 ICC Trophies.

Rafiq, fondly called "bagh mama", has been actively involved in local cricket in different capacities. As a match referee, he has conducted numerous matches and is also the director of coaching of Dhanmondi Cricket Academy.

Off-spinner Naimur's return to cricket is surprising since he walked off the national team citing knee injuries during the reign of Faruque. He played eight Tests and 29 one-day internationals. Hailed as the best right-arm off-spinner ever of the country, ironically one of Naimur's primary job will be to find a right-arm offie. He was brought in place of Athar Ali Khan.

"We commended the previous selectors' work over the past four years but we thought that there was a need for change. I think we have selected two competent individuals for the demanding job because they not only played for the national side but have adequate knowledge of the domestic and international cricket," said Munna.

"We will maintain the same salary structure for the selectors, something that was made by our previous committee, but there will be some changes in the terms and conditions. We met with both the new selectors before finalising their names. We want hundred per cent commitment in the job because now it is no more an amateur duty," he added.

When contacted over telephone, the new chief selector Rafiq told The Daily Star that cooperation from all is the need of the hour.

"Teamwork and coordination with the cricket board and players will be of paramount importance for success just as teamwork is vital for the team's success," said Rafiq last evening, shortly after being confirmed by the board.

"I would not like to comment on the previous committee. What I must say is that we are quite a handful side in one-dayers now but are far, far behind in Tests and our focus should be on the longer-version."

According to Rafiq, his committee will eye the next big tournament, the World Cup, which is four years from now.

"Although it's a two-year contract, we'll have the World Cup 2011 in our plans. I think a long-term goal is necessary," said Rafiq.

Shaping a team for the next World Cup would be the main challenge for Rafiq and his committee as there had been hardly any controversy over the team selection during the Faruque-led committee's four-year tenure but they could not set up a team. Finding a permanent solution in the opening slot was their biggest failure.

Faruque however was not ready to focus on any of the negative issues but said that their successor will take over a good team, something that they did not inherit.

"At first I want to congratulate the two new selectors. I am hopeful that they will do a good job and the most important thing is that both have played for the national side," said Faruque in his initial reaction.

"I think they are fortunate enough as they are going to take over a team in good shape. We had to rebuild the side after a disastrous performance in World Cup 2003. We tried our best to make a good team and what was encouraging for us was that we had result-oriented success rather than only an improvement," he observed.

"We might have won most of the matches against Zimbabwe but during our period we also won some good matches against Australia, Sri Lanka, India and South Africa. No doubt the success in the last World Cup was the sweetest memory in my time," said the former national skipper.