Local toil for international success
The hero worship is continuing. Mehedi Hasan Miraz is now our new cricketing hero and the 19-year old cricketer deserves the adulation that he has been receiving from all quarters since his spin mastery helped the country achieve their best success in their cricket history.
The people surrounding the national team understandably seize maximum focus whenever something is achieved in top-level cricket. But a player cannot be ready for the highest level overnight and a successful player emerges through the guidance of a number of coaches.
A team think-tank can execute their plans if they have enough resources like the Tigers did with their spin bowlers during the two-match Test series against England. We may only see the end result but a Mehedi or Mustafizur Rahman had to come through a process despite having the special talent to become an elite product.
Over the last few days the name of a little-known coach in Khulna -- apart from the names of few other local coaches like Mizanur Rahman and Sohel Islam -- has found a place in the media coverage, courtesy of Mehedi's outstanding performances. There are however hundreds of similar unsung heroes like Al Mahmud who have tirelessly been trying to produce players all over the country. And in most cases their efforts have come forth out of love for the game and their charges because at that level there is not much financial reward to speak of.
“We, who are working at grassroots levels, were waiting for this kind of day when someone succeeded at the top level. We have to sweat to run an academy and we are also not financially solvent; we don't get anything from anybody but still it feels great as Miraz is now a national hero. Regardless of whether we get anything, I will continue to try to spot another Miraz,” said an emotional Mahmud.
Sohel Islam was one of the people that Mehedi credited for his success but the BCB's coach was very humble when talking about his contribution. “I am an employee at the board and it's my duty to look after the players; still when a player mentions my name after such a brilliant international debut it feels great. I love to work with young players and I want to do my work as sincerely as possible.
“You can't expect a player to suddenly perform outstandingly for no reason. What you seen in Miraz has developed through the age levels where a number of coaches worked. The young generation sees the game differently and their fearless approach is developed at age level. A Miraz has a special talent but his qualities developed through a process. It doesn't matter if people like us get the focus -- the important things is that players now have faith on local coaches,” observed Sohel.
Another behind-the-scenes operator is Mizanur Rahman, who coached the Under-19 team that Mehedi led in the last ICC Under-19 World Cup. “It's our ultimate satisfaction or happiness when a player recognises our contribution after international success. A coach can't make a complete player; rather a successful player comes through the help of a number of coaches. We are employees of the board, we can expect nothing more than the recognition from the player, which gives us enough pleasure.
“I have been working with the under-19s for long and have been associated with the Under-19 world cup team since 2010 and from that experience I can tell you that I am not surprised with Miraz's performance because we have seen his ability during that time. A player not only learns all the basics at the Under-19 level but is also educate about all the other issues so that they can also be good human beings,” he added.
There are a number of issues because of which these coaches can have justified grievances but they were all still excited by their student's success. Like the national heroes these behind-the-scenes men all over the country also deserves better lives, better treatment and better facilities because their contribution is not lessened by their anonymity.