Leg-spin has always been one of the toughest arts in cricket and unfortunately for young Bangladesh cricketers, there has been no great role model to look up to and be inspired to take up and master the craft.
Jubair Hossain was the last of the very few specialist leg-spinners in the country who, despite a dream start to his international career, faded away because of the absence of a nurturing environment and the sufficient opportunities required to groom a leg-spinner.
Because it is such a difficult art, wrist-spin is all about control and it has been difficult for even the best in the world to consistently bowl in the right areas and not bowl the off bad ball.
Leg-spinners can therefore be expensive as they leak a few runs in their quest for wickets, but it is a worthy tradeoff as wrist spin can often create trouble for batsman because of the increased revolutions typical to the style of bowling and the variations it brings into play.
There is a desperate search for this type of bowler in Bangladesh because of how leg-spinners are playing vital roles in all formats for other countries.
Aminul Islam’s inclusion in the squad came as a surprise, but the 19-year-old leg-spinner made a perfect debut and picked up two wickets, showing a lot of promise as he was also very economical against Zimbabwe on Wednesday.
However, being a proper middle-order batsman who scored 440 runs in the last Dhaka Premier League season for BKSP while managing to pick just one wicket, his courage and confidence was the key.
“Shakib [Al Hasan] bhai told me that as a leg-spinner you only have to bowl in the right areas for the possibility of something good happening. I kept that in mind and bowled in the right areas after observing the batsman,” Aminul told reporters at the team hotel in Chattogram yesterday where the Tigers spent a rest day.
The youngster however got injured during his T20I debut against Zimbabwe on Wednesday and had to have three stitches on his left hand and there are concerns about whether Aminul may miss the rest of the series.
Even if Aminul does miss the next few matches and returns after recovering from injury, there will be a lot of challenges waiting for him with regards to handling pressure situations that has not as yet faced.
“I think self-control is a huge thing. I have seen who has done what in the past. I will try to control myself and look to improve day by day, match by match,” said Aminul.
It will be important for the selectors, team management and also the board to properly groom Aminul and provide him enough time and make sure that he gets the opportunity to play domestic leagues regularly.
With leg-spinners thin on the ground, they will have to do away with the tendency towards stopgap solutions that sees a player being discarded if he does not prove himself albeit not being given enough opportunities – examples of which abound in Bangladesh cricket.
For Aminul, it’s just the beginning. He will need to learn and adapt to a lot of tough situations and whether Bangladesh have finally found a leg-spinner will depend on his willingness to work hard as well as the establishment’s will to persist with the youngster.