O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!

An interview with Saleh Shadman, the captain of University of Nottingham Malaysia’s cricket team.

Interviewer: Hello! First of all, I want to thank you for agreeing to answer some of my questions Mr. Shadman, can you tell us a bit about yourself for a start?

Saleh: Hello, my name is Saleh Shadman and I am currently doing my second year in PhD. I did my undergraduate studies here so I have been here for the last five years. You can say that this university is like a real home for me now and that it’s been an adventure of a lifetime.

Interviewer: What aspired you to play this sport at this level?

Saleh: I have always loved to play cricket and football in school and as a Bangladeshi, your love for Cricket will always there no matter what you do. This makes you try to play it anywhere you can whether it be at your family lawn or a public park. That’s how you start to learn and develop your skills in this sport so it just not me. I’m sure anyone can play very well with practice. I was given the opportunity to compete with the teams of the other universities whilst representing my own and I have been rewarded with the captaincy which has been entrusted to me.

Interviewer: You must have experienced some very tense matches here, how do you cope with the pressure and how do you handle it as a team?

Saleh: When you play a team sport, it’s easier to play under pressure when the team knows the roles that each of them has to play and what are their respective opportunities. So, the moment when everyone plays their part efficiently, the captain’s task is much easier and the team start getting positive results immediately which really helps in intense and competitive match.

Interviewer: This year you had to rebuild the cricket team from scratch. How did you determine which part of the team needed the most attention and how did you know which person was the right one for specific positions?

Saleh: The cricket club has excelled in the last five years and this year it has surpassed all expectations due to the efficient management team led by Phahmee as the cricket club president, who is doing a great job not only off field but on field as well. In the last semester itself he has scored the most runs in the team. Not only him, but also the Vice president and the other members of the club are also excelling in their respective duties. So when both the management and the committee members start working well together, rebuilding a team is much easier than it looks. It also takes a certain level of dedication from the young, talented cricketers who arrived this year with this whole new level of energy and enthusiasm amongst them which easily shows in every practice session that they attend. It is all about how you practise as a team which gives you the desired result as well as their determination to work hard and to prove themselves, which was one of the reason why it was easier for me to rebuild the team.

Interviewer: Do you play other sports as well?

Saleh: I have represented my university in three different sports- Cricket, tennis and football and I hope that I keep on representing them in the future.

Interviewer: How do you manage all this along with your PhD?

Saleh: Unlike undergraduate students, a PhD student doesn’t attend any classes, its almost like a 9-5pm job where most of the time is used to focus on studies. I put everything aside up till 5 and from 6 pm onwards you are free to allocate your time to extra curriculars and friends unless you have extra work for example, writing a general paper or attending a conference. I think that a student, especially an international student who is away from his family and school friends should try extra-curricular activities as very much helps in uplifting a person’s mood after a tiring day. In the end, it is always about how you balance your studies with the rest of your hobbies and activities.

Interviewer: Do you have anything to say to the readers who aspire to become a cricketer, or any words for inspiration?

Saleh: All I can say that you have to start off somewhere and you have to be confident that you will reach the level that you hope for, it will take time and a lot of hard work. In my case, I had to work for roughly twelve years to reach the level I am at. This is true for most of the cricketers and footballers here; we all start early, but its never too late. I started playing tennis about two years ago and reached my desired level after a lot of dedication and hard work which bore me fruit as now I represent Nottingham in tennis as well. There are many other examples as well, we have many people who had never played cricket before but now have become an invaluable member of the university team.

Also, a special mention to our Girls’ team, they have never played cricket back home, but they have picked up the sport very well and have competed in the first ever cricket tournament for girls in the history of Nottingham Malaysia which was held on the 15th of December 2018.

Interviewer: How do you motivate your players during matches?

Saleh: As I said before, cricket is a team sport, on any day a person can suffer a bad or a good day. If someone is having a bad day, you can motivate them by giving lending them an ear or even if they are not performing well you still give motivation and compliment on their abilities and tell them that they can still make a difference. If a person is going through a good day, you praise him and encourage him to keep performing at this level consistently.

Interviewer: Thank you Mr. Saleh for this interview.

Saleh: Thank you Abdullah, and also a bid thank you to Ignite for giving me the opportunity to share my views and experiences to my fellow university mates.

Written by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah

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