The very fact that Bangladesh's team management have included a pacer who has not been in the national setup for the last five years in itself describes the sorry state the Tigers' pace department is in.
The series of injuries, coupled with some ordinary bowling, have compelled the selectors to try something different and bring in left-arm pacer Sajidul Islam. Sajidul last played for Bangladesh in 2008 when the Tigers toured New Zealand. The bowler picked three wickets in three innings stretched over two Tests, and has not played an international match ever since. All three were wickets of top-order batsman, one of which was that of star batsman Stephen Fleming.
While his return to the side may have been based more on compulsion rather than his performance, Sajidul believes that the tour of Zimbabwe can sketch a new avenue for his international career.
“Honestly speaking, it feels as though I have entered the national team for the first time,” Sajidul told The Daily Star. “When I was dropped after the 2008 series, a number of other pacers got into the side and I knew it was going to be tough. But I always said to myself that an opportunity would come and I tried to give my 100 per cent,” he added.
Sajidul, who turned 25 last January, believed that he has matured as a cricketer in the last five years. “I am a lot more experienced now. In 2008 I could swing the ball just one way, and sometimes it went the other way by luck. But now I have more control on the ball and can swing the ball both ways. I also understand the game a lot better. I used to bowl just for bowling's sake. I have learnt to bowl according to the batsman's abilities,” said Sajidul.
He was of the opinion that his three for 23 against the Dhaka Gladiators, in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 this year was one of the many factors that led to the recall. “The BPL match did help me a bit since I performed well against good players. That might have had a positive impact on the selectors,” he said.
Whether Sajidul will be in the playing eleven for the first Test is still unsure. The bowler though has his targets firmly set. “The wickets in Zimbabwe will support the seamers. My main aim will be to swing the ball accurately.”