ACC Development Officer Roger Binny, a World Cup winner with India and one of Asia’s most respected coaches talks to us about the on-going 2006 ACC Trophy and also gives his predictions on the outcome of the tournament.

What do you predict for this ACC Trophy?
I think from the quarter-finals stage onwards it will get very interesting. Singapore and Malaysia did quite well when they beat Bahrain and Saudi Arabia respectively in the group matches. In the earlier ACC Trophies, the Middle East countries dominated and now it’s good to see the Far East countries do well

Just how big is it for a team like Myanmar to come to the ACC Trophy?
It is obviously going to be a huge boost for the team and the people over there. Now the Myanmar people know the standard they require to come and play in a tournament such as this. It is most definitely going to boost the game and there are going to be a lot of changes which is good for Myanmar cricket.

How important is it to have a team represent the ACC at the World Cup in 2011?
It is very important for one of the teams to qualify to show the effort that the ACC have been putting in to develop players, coaches, grounds, facilities and governance. It is just a matter of getting there because I know there is quality and once we are at the World Cup the teams will surely do well.

If you were a national coach, how would you prepare a team, mentally and physically, for a tournament such as this?
This needs to be taken step by step. The first priority would be to do well in the ACC Trophy and then look at winning it. Mentally, there have to be set goals for the team to achieve. Going to the World Cup, which is the biggest arena of cricket, is the highest goal set for any team and if that is their goal and they really want to achieve it, they must work to accomplish that. It means a lot of hard work, a lot of self-belief, a lot of planning.

Off all the countries you work with – UAE, Oman, Thailand, Bhutan, Brunei and Myanmar, which do you see has the most potential?
Working with Thailand I think the future of Thai cricket is in the hands of the ethnic kids. They’ve got the qualities of what players in the sub-continent have. When they’re 12 and 13 their skills look as good as any others in the sub-continent. In the coming 7 or 8 years, Thailand could be a great cricketing nation.
A second team would be Myanmar simply for the sheer number of people interested there, including the government. At the rate they are progressing they can be amongst the top ACC teams in the next 10-15 years.

What is personally more rewarding for you, coaching or playing?
I enjoyed playing for many years but coaching is more rewarding. I get the opportunity to train and look after a group of children who are always so keen to impress and to get to the big league. It is very satisfying working with age-group children.