After being involved in Bangladesh cricket all his life, 35-year-old Ashfaq-ul-Islam (Bappy) is now embarked upon a new challenge. Having been appointed national coach of Myanmar in October 2009, Bappy’s first test in charge was the ACC U-19 Challenge Cup in Chiang Mai, Thailand. During a game against Brunei, which Myanmar won by 188 runs, Bappy spoke of his cricketing past and Myanmar’s cricketing future.

"I've taken up coaching Myanmar in a positive way and it has started working."

When did you first start playing cricket?
From my childhood I have played cricket at the Bangladesh Institute of Sports (BKSP). The BKSP teaches football, hockey, basketball, gymnastics, athletics, shooting, lawn tennis and cricket. Cricket is very important now since it has become the number one sport in the country.

Where did you play professionally?
I played cricket in the Dhaka Cricket League. I was an all-rounder; a batsman and an off-break bowler. I was there for six years and in all those years I played cricket for BKSP after which I played in the Dhaka Cricket League in 1989. I went on to complete my honours degree from India and my masters from Dhaka University.

After completing your university where were you based?
I joined as a coach with BKSP and started coaching with the people who had coached me. I was there for five years and that was extended after the completion of a Talent Identification Program for Bangladesh Cricket. From that program four to five players are now playing in the Bangladesh national Test team. We had the opportunity to search and work with these talents.


What influence has the ACC had on your career?
The ACC has had a great influence in my cricketing and coaching career. I am a direct product of Cricket Australia and the ACC. I was a novice in 2000 when I started coaching and from then on my coaching improved after the ACC conducted courses where we learnt a lot. I did my Level I, Level II and just completed my Level III recently in Bangladesh. I’ve done an additional coaching diploma from Patiala in India.

What were your main responsibilities with the BCB?
I worked for the BCB for four years and was in game development and started working with coaches at first. After that I worked as a Coach Educator and was conducting the BCB’s coaching programs to develop the local talent and now Bangladesh has more than 250 coaches and out of them 86 are Level II coaches.

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