Ever since Bangladesh Cricket Board introduced a new program called Bangladesh Tigers - a shadow national team - confusion reigns in the backrooms of the cricket set up in the country regarding its purpose when there already exists a Bangladesh ‘A’ team.
BCB’s board of directors decided to launch the ‘Tigers’ program headed by Khaled Mahmud and Kazi Inam to provide training facilities for cricketers not in the national team but in the national scheme of things.
This, indirectly, raised question marks over the performance of BCB’s cricket operations chairman Akram Khan, who was responsible for the operations of the Bangladesh A team.
Khan himself expressed surprise over the move made by the boar. “To be honest I am not sure about the Bangladesh Tigers program. They have not spoken with [me] in this regard and need to sit with them to get a clear idea about it,” Akram told Cricbuzz.
Incidentally, Since the last board meeting, on June 15, Akram’s role as the operations head has come under scrutiny because of the inactivity of the Bangladesh ‘A’ team.
In his defence, Khan cited the pandemic as the reason. “There is a misconception that there is no activity of A team. Due to the Covid-19 situation, there is no activity of any team. We went to Sri Lanka in October 2019 and then the Covid-19 problem started,” Akram told reporters at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Wednesday.
“We will try to play longer version matches. Those who didn’t play for the national team, it will be a great opportunity for them. There is no connection between this team and the shadow team,” he added. BCB’s local coaches, who are expected to be part of the Bangladesh Tigers program, are quite confused with the whole state of affairs.
“If now we start A-team program then where does the Bangladesh Tigers program fit in,” questioned a coach on request of anonymity.
Kazi Inam Ahmed explained it thus – “The ‘A’ team operates on a tour-by-tour basis and it is not always easy to get tours, be it at home or away,” Inam told reporters while explaining the Bangladesh Tigers program after it was launched.
“It is a real challenge, especially in the current scenario because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This [Bangladesh Tigers] is a comprehensive programme for players like Imrul (Kayes), Sabbir (Rahman), Nasir (Hossain), (Anamul Haque) Bijoy or Shafiul (Islam), who have played for the national team and may play again, but they can't play for teams like Under-19s or high-performance.
“We are looking at players outside the high-performance set-up, and the ones who are doing well regularly in domestic cricket. We want to develop them because they don't get to use the main facilities,” he said.
Whether cricketers like Imrul and others are part of A team or Bangladesh Tigers program remains to be seen but as it stands, there is clarity needed on the role and scope of both programmes to bridge the communication gap.