The Financial Express


Nurturing a cricketing prodigy

Nurturing a cricketing prodigy

Not many so young catch the attention of the best in the business. When games and sports are concerned, the maxim, 'catch them young' is prized at its highest. Now, a boy from Barishal still in class-I in one of that city's primary schools has been showered with praises by cricketing icons like Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne. A video clip uploaded by the maternal uncle of Sadid, the wonder boy, drew attention of Tendulkar. The batting genius enthused over the amazing varieties of leg-spin bowling skills of the prodigy and posted the video clip on his personal Facebook page. This did not escape leg-spin legend Shane Warne's notice and he also highly appreciated the kid's astounding ability to move the ball either way and making the ball talk. Then Afghanistan's Rashid Khan, arguably the best leggie now playing cricket, joined the two all-time cricketing greats to extol the virtuoso.

Sporting talents also need to be discovered and nurtured and the best example is perhaps Lionel Messi, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner and soccer wizard. At the age of just six, he was admitted to a local club in Rosario in Argentina and displayed unbelievable control of the ball and ability to move through players of opposing sides. Thus the little soccer maestro announced his presence very early in his childhood.

However, the boy was diagnosed with a rare hormone disorder and without proper treatment, which was too costly for his parents to bear, his growth was at risk. But no club in Argentina was ready to invest in a kid whose future was then uncertain. Even after Messi and his father were taken to Barcelona, the club recognised the exceptional talent he had but still hesitated to offer a formal contract. At one point when Messi's father was growing restive, Barca's sporting director Carles Rexach completed the signing of young Messi on a napkin at a tennis court in want of a piece of paper there. The sporting director's discerning eyes knew what a gem of a footballing talent Messi was and did what was to prove the most important signing for the club's history.  

Sadid has his early mentor in his maternal uncle who incidentally happens to be his coach also. This young gifted talent, as endorsed by batting maestro Sachin, legendary leggie Shane Warne and magical Rashid Khan, can become one of the best spin bowlers provided that he is properly nurtured. The good news is that the deputy commissioner (DC) of Barishal has made the first move. He invited the boy to his residence on October 21. On the little one's arrival to his residence, the DC announced he would bear all the expenditure for the boy's education and training he needs to whet his skills. It is a welcome move to encourage and help the boy realise his cricketing dream.

This country already has produced a champion cricketer in Shakib Al Hasan. He has a number of records under his belt but more importantly he is the only name that stands taller than his international rivals. Thus Shakib has become a brand for Bangladesh. This country needs more. This boy, if the cricketing greats have not erred in their assessment of his talent, has all the making of a champion cricketer as well. The DC of Barishal has played his part well. But the boy needs the most enabling environment of a cricketing academy for his grooming. Messi had that environment at La Masia de Can Planes, Barcelona's youth academy, which is better known in its shortened form La Masia.

Sadid is unlikely to receive the training and nurturing he needs in his home town. There is no certainty even if the Bangladesh Krira Shikhha Protisthan (BKSP) will be the right place for him. Barcelona managed a residence for Messi's family so that the little boy did not become homesick. Can a similar arrangement be made for Sadid when he receives regular training at a cricketing academy in Dhaka or Savar? This is exactly how investments have to be made in sporting talents, which they can more than repay by earning laurels and making the country proud.  


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