What are the major differences in the game since you left?

First of all, in my time, there was only a coach. He was the physio, trainer – basically everything. Nowadays the team has specific people for each task and this is a major plus point. Also now the biomechanical side has come into the game and it helps in pinpointing the problem and therefore the cure and the exercises that need to be done can be identified almost immediately.

Basically, science has come into the game and has changed it for the better. But one can’t really compare cricketing times because we played with what we had in those days and it is the same today. All teams are given the same opportunity and are on a level playing field.

What’s it like to play two sports at the highest level?

When I used to play football, it was the number one sport in Bangladesh, more popular than cricket. It was the domestic football that was very huge. Around 60, 000 people used to go to watch the football games when Bangladesh was still an ICC Associate member and no one ever thought that the cricket team would play a Test or be in the World Cup. I was very lucky because I was present at almost all of the country’s cricketing milestones – when we won the ICC Championship, when the ICC gave us Test status, ODI status and when we played the World Cup. We have learnt from all this and we have developed through the times.

Batting against England in Nairobi, October 2000

How do you become a good cricketer?

It depends on the individual's talent, access to training and match facilities i.e. the country's development structure. As per sports science, a person should have ten thousand hours of practice from beginning to maturity to be a good cricketer.

That’s something like three hours of practice every day for ten years.

Exactly. It’s very possible. And then you just have to add inner belief to the skill you’ve developed.

What if everyone does that and everyone becomes as good as everyone else?

That’s when you get real competition!

What have been your most memorable cricketing moments?

There are a few memories I will never forget. The first would be the ICC Trophy here in Malaysia when we won against Kenya in 1997 qualifying for the World Cup. We went on to play in the 1999 World Cup and I captained the squad and we won two games, against Scotland and Pakistan. These are very memorable, but in comparison, our inaugural Test match against India where I scored 145 is much sweeter. It basically reflects my career and it is the signature of my life.

Prior to the Test match I was not sure whether I was going to play or not. I was 32 years old, my form wasn’t too good and I was struggling on our tour to South Africa and suddenly I got into the team and scored 145 against a team like India with huge crowds in the stadium. When I was in the 90s, I thought of my friend Pravin Amre who also scored a century on debut, and only then did I realize I could actually get a century on my debut. Also the moment when I scored my 100 is still very clear to me – I just looked to the skies and raised my bat at my coach Eddie Barlow, who was very ill at that time and I remember him waving at me with his walking stick.

How close are Bangladesh to being a consistently good side?

Bangladesh still needs to go a long way to be a consistent performer beside the ICC's top ranking countries. But they have shown significant progress to be a consistently good side with ICC's lower ranked countries.

If Bangladesh can do it, can other countries too?

Of course.

LINKS: Cricinfo Profile of Aminul Islam

Filed April 14 2008