|Sourav Ganguly and Muttiah Muralidharan, at the JU Salt Lake Campus ground, on Tuesday. A Telegraph picture
Calcutta: Together, Waqar Younis and Muttiah Muralidharan have an astonishing 2136 international wickets. Both the legends were ardent students of the game during their playing days. Now, as teachers, they are understandably strict.
In the city as consultants for Cricket Association of Bengal’s Vision 2020 project, the duo has given valuable advice to budding and senior players alike. But along with that, they have also let the CAB know that they would want their words to be strictly followed.
Murali, who left the city on Tuesday evening, has made it clear that the spinners who have been selected in the camp will have to follow the process that has been advised by him. They are not allowed to deviate from that, not even if their local coaches suggest something different.
The CAB brass, on their part, are happy to implement the ways of Waqar and Murali. The association is planning to bind the selected players in some kind of contract to keep a check on their progress.
Tuesday was the last day of the first phase of the camp under the masters’ guidance. While Murali chose to have a session at the nets with the spinners, Waqar mostly stayed indoors, discussing each player’s problems with the help of video analysis.
Waqar wants the CAB to bring in raw talents from the districts in the next phase of the camp. “He has specifically asked us to bring in raw talents from the districts. He doesn’t mind if their technical knowledge is less, he is ready to work on them. But he believes physically, the district boys would make better pacers,” CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey said.
Waqar himself sounded pretty satisfied with how things have shaped up. “The first phase of the camp has been good… There was a limitation of time, so we had to rush a few things… But we have found a few talented players… Next time, I hope some raw talents will also come… I hope there will be a few good guys among them as well. I hope we will unearth more talent as the camp gets rolling… Whatever happens, it will only help Bengal cricket,” he said.
Murali, on the other hand, stressed on hard work and said one shouldn’t hope for immediate results. “The process we have started has to continue for the next two-three months. The assistant coaches will look after the procedures.
“They have to practice every week… We have pointed out the errors in every selected player individually… So now the boys have to work hard,” the Sri Lankan said.
“The boys will have to train for five days a week… They will have to bowl and have physical training as well. Everything has been arranged, the CAB will look after that. It will be a continuous process,” he added.
Murali, however, refused to name any one player as the standout talent. “It is too early to pick any particular boy… We have to see how they cope up for the next two-three months. Only then will we be able to say who is the better bowler.”
For Waqar, fitness is of prime importance. "We are focussing on the fitness level of the boys… It's the first thing that should be taken care of. In our absence, the trainers and the physios will take care of their fitness."
The former Pakistan captain also reminded the boys that a lot of hard work is needed to be better players. “Most of the guys we have selected need proper training… Of course, the senior guys have played the Ranji Trophy… So their technique is better. They have less problems.
“But the ones who are from the clubs and districts, have bigger issues which need to be addressed. We have done video analysis of all the bowlers, tried to make them understand their problems. They should now work on those aspects… Their future will be better then.”