Bangladesh have lined up without a single frontline seam bowler in their Test playing eleven for the first time in history since making their Test debut in 2000.
Bangladesh team management were supposedly looking to replace Mustafizur with seam bowling all-rounder Ariful Haque but that did not happen either as they included the usual four spinners with Liton Das making a return to the Test side as wicket-keeper.
Bangladesh’s reluctance to play pacers at home was all too evident when they played with just a single pacer in the form of Mustafizur Rahman during the first Test against Zimbabwe -- a match where they were handsomely beaten. While they did play Mustafizur and Khaled Ahmed -- both bowling impressively but unlucky not to have picked up any wickets in the second Test against Zimbabwe, the Tigers went back to the tried an tested ‘one-paceman’ rule in the first Test against West Indies at Chattogram.
Bangladesh picked four spinners in youngster Nayeem Islam and also Mehedi Miraz, Taijul Islam while Shakib Al Hasan returned to action after a break due to injury. Mustafizur bowled just four overs during the two West Indies innings which spoke as much about the pitch as Bangladesh’s attitude towards pace.
While the inclusion of four spinners is a positive, little or no help for pacers -- despite the fact that West Indies pacer Shannon Gabriel picked up four wickets for Windies, was a worrisome issue. Things took on from their and today Bangladesh lined up without Mustafizur Rahman and the progression of events leading upto this has been clear. Either the pitches are not for pace bowlers or Bangladesh do not think that they need to hone their pacers’ skills during home Tests. The Tigers can be excused for trying to win a Test series at home by focusing on their spin strengths but what message are the management sending to up and coming pacers?