Winds of change in Bangladesh cricket

Hasan Mahmud, Ebadot Hossain and Taskin Ahmed, the pace trio that ran through Ireland in the third ODI in Sylhet on 23 March 2023BCB

Bangladesh pacers recently did something remarkable, something that was keenly observed by the cricket enthusiasts around the country. Bangladesh’s fast bowling battalion, which was formerly viewed as a weakness, has now emerged as a formidable force and is proving its mettle in every given opportunity. Bangladesh’s bowling attack had a reputation for being somewhat predictable in the past, primarily relying on spinners to win games. But today, as a result of its fast bowlers’ perseverance and hard work, Bangladesh boasts of a well-rounded bowling attack that can compete with the finest teams in the world.

In my opinion—and by no means am I a cricket expert– special attention given to the fast bowling crop in the past couple of years is one of the major drivers behind this incredible turnaround of Bangladesh’s fast bowling attack.

Ireland was crushed by the Tamim Iqbal-led side in the third and final ODI of the just-finished three-game series in Sylhet, giving Bangladesh their first-ever 10-wicket victory in ODIs.

Bangladesh pacers were outstanding in that match, claiming all ten wickets for the first time in an ODI to bowl the Irish out for 101 in 28.1 overs. The opening pair of Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das helped the Tigers cruise to victory with 221 balls to spare, their second highest victory in terms of balls remaining. A six-wicket win over Zimbabwe in 2009 which came with 229 balls to spare topped that list.

Young Hasan Mahmud was the star performer, claiming his maiden five-wicket haul for 32 runs. Whereas, Taskin Ahmed took three wickets for 26 runs and Ebadot Hossain snapped up two for 29.

Prior to that, we saw history unfold right before our eyes when Bangladesh defeated England in the third and final T20I on 14 March by 16 runs, earning them their maiden clean-sweep over the World Champions. It was also their first whitewash in a three-match T20I series in 11 years. Before the bowling unit unleashed a full-scale onslaught to keep England to 142 for six at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Liton Das’ 57-ball 73 had helped the hosts reach 158 for two. One of Bangladesh’s best bowlers, Mustafizur Rahman, became the fastest Bangladeshi to take 100 T20I wickets when he did it in just 81 matches.

Not just that match, throughout the three T20Is the Bangladesh fast bowling division demonstrated a newfound vigour and attitude. This shift in seamers can be attributed in large part to Bangladesh’s pace-bowling coach Allan Donald. The ‘White Lightning’ emphasised on the value of clever bowling, which had worked against England. Donald believes that bowling unit need to be both cohesive and aggressive. He talks about having a pack mentality and letting go of fear.

The success of Bangladesh’s cricket prowess has been on full display recently, with the resurrection of its fast bowlers serving as one of the primary drivers. Bangladesh has become a legitimate challenger in international cricket as a result of their ability to provide consistent performances against some of the finest teams in the world.

The emergence of Bangladeshi pacers is also evidence of how the game of cricket is evolving. Fast bowling is now more important than ever because of the emergence of T20 cricket. Historically, subcontinental sides have placed a lot of reliance on their spinners to win games. But that mentality has changed over time and Bangladesh cricket officials, to their credit, caught on early and began adapting to the change. They have therefore been able to create a crop of gifted fast bowlers who are competitive with the best in the world.

Mustafizur Rahman, Ebadot Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam and Hasan Mahmud are both the present and future of Bangladesh’s pace attack. In the following days, their speed and skills will play a crucial part in deciding how far Bangladesh cricket will advance. Given the lethal pace attack we possess right now, can’t we hope that Bangladesh will, at the very least, advance to the knockout stages of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, in India later this year? I believe we can.

*Muhammad Zayed Hossen Jubayer is a third-year honours student majoring in Finance and Banking at Govt. BM College, Barishal. He can be reached at [email protected]