Iqbal Sikander: Developing The Game

In Afghanistan

What would bring you utmost satisfaction through this program?

I would like to see my coaching pay off for the teams. Seeing them perform and produce results will really please me. Also, a significant development in the infrastructure would be commendable.

Are there any frustrations that come with the job?

There are certain frustrations that are quite apparent from my point of view. Some of them namely are the slow pace of development of the game in certain countries. This coupled with a lack of commitment by local coaches and officials form a stumbling block in cricket’s development. Also lacking is proper, structured training in schools. They are almost completely ignored.

Do you find that the development program engages a strong enough response? What would be your suggestions in order to gain a higher level of response?

No, I don’t think so. Cricket Boards and associations do not implement the ACC’s programs the way the ACC would like them to. For example, there has to be a proper coaching structure and ground developments are essential. Local umpiring programs should be developed and junior cricket must be set up in an organized and structured way.

Cricket supporters – were they more passionate while you were playing?

The cricketing fans have always had passion, love and caring for the game as well as the players. At times a lot of them tend to get emotional. They have always treated cricketers with respect and always will. Supporters constantly want their team to do well and they’re the key to a player’s performance, by getting them motivated. The fans hold a very important role in the progress and development of a player.

In Pakistan and India, the kids play cricket in the streets. This shows how popular the game is. Would the developing cricket nations ever reach that level of craze?

I don’t think this can be achieved anywhere else other than maybe the West Indies. Looking into the Middle East, the Arabians pay more interest to football and have not wholly accepted cricket which in turn leads to the children losing interest as well. In the Far East, parents focus more on a strong education rather than have their children playing cricket. The majority of cricket played in non – Test playing countries is done by the Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and Bangladeshi’s whereas the locals, sadly, are not as involved and their input is minimal.

The ACC will need to take up this matter seriously and introduce cricket not only in expatriate schools but local ones as well.

The development team

How do you feel about being responsible for bringing cricket to places where the game is virtually unknown?

It has, at times, been difficult and challenging for me but challenges are something I embrace. And with the strong support of the ACC I enjoy taking them up.

Filed May 26 2006