The official line in the aftermath of the pacers being largely ignored in the Tests against West Indies has been one of adherence to the team's needs. However, it speaks of the healthy competition between Bangladesh pacers and spinners that even though he was not part of the Test squad, fast bowler Rubel Hossain felt his fellow fast men's discontent at only four overs of pace being bowled in the two-Test series -- that too all in the first game.
He chose the timing of his expression of slight disappointment wisely, as the pace bowlers are set to take centre stage when the limited-overs leg of West Indies' tour of Bangladesh begins today with the warm-up match between the BCB XI and the tourists at the BKSP today, when Rubel will be one of the big names returning to national colours along with skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and opener Tamim Iqbal. The pacers will be woken from their Test torpor because for them, ODIs are a different ball game.
In 2018, among the top 10 ODI teams, Bangladesh's pacers have been behind only their Sri Lankan counterparts in terms of average, taking a wicket on average every 26.01 runs conceded. More relevant in the wake of the spin-dominated Test series is the fact that Bangladesh's spinners have taken wickets at the cost of 34.82 runs in ODIs in 2018.
"Of course, when the spinners are doing well and the pace bowlers are unable to play matches, it is a little disappointing for us," Rubel told reporters after practice in Mirpur yesterday. "But I think things will change completely in the one-dayers. The wicket will probably not hold as much spin.
“Pacers have won matches in one-day cricket in the past," was the defiant answer from Rubel when asked whether that trend of pace superiority would hold in home conditions as well. "In these conditions we [pacers] can of course win matches."
Rubel has been in prime form in ODIs of late, excelling in Bangladesh's Asia Cup campaign in September when he almost won the tournament for the Tigers with a fiery spell in the final against India. He will be integral to the Tigers' effort to keep a lid on West Indies' scores as Rubel is a death-overs specialist.
"I will definitely have to bowl at the death, and in those situations you can win or lose the match. So I put extra focus on that."
While there was no pacer in the second Test against West Indies in Dhaka, it is a reflection of how well the pacers have been doing in the format that the ODI squad boasts six pacers in Mashrafe, Rubel, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Hider, Mohammad Saifuddin and Ariful Haque.
He had good answers to most questions yesterday -- including rubbishing a claim that pacers do not want to play Tests -- but was confounded when asked whether the difference between the dominant style of bowling between Tests and ODIs had something to do with left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan leading in Tests while seamer Mashrafe holds the reins in ODIs.
"Actually I can't find a clear answer for that," Rubel said with a chuckle.
It is indeed a tough one to crack, but for now Rubel seemed happy in the knowledge that from today, he and his pace mates will at least get to play.