Whether home or abroad, Bangladesh are a side that depends on its spin attack to take wickets in Test matches.
Experienced campaigner Shakib Al Hasan has led the Tigers’ spin department with the likes of fellow left-arm spinner Taijul Islam and young off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz.
Taijul, just one wicket shy of becoming the quickest Bangladesh bowler to the landmark of hundred Test wickets, has been consistently and silently performing his role.
Shakib holds the current record, having reached the mark in 28 Tests. Taijul is expected to play his 25th Test against Afghanistan in Chattogram next month and the 27-year-old will be hoping to reach the mark and become just the third Bangladesh player to bag 100 wickets.
While he needs just one scalp to reach the mark, Bangladesh will be hoping for a few more from him and the spin department as a whole. Bangladesh spinners have taken 124 wickets in the last 10 Tests, while seamers accounted for just 24.
Shakib (17), Taijul (45) and Mehedi (43) have accounted for 105 of those 124 wickets. At home, the spinners are even more instrumental, having picked 161 wickets in the last 10 home Tests, with the pacers bagging a meagre 15.
Taijul said it was a challenge for the spinners to pick the bulk of the wickets and at home, where pitches offer greater assistance to spinners than overseas conditions.
“Obviously, it is a bigger challenge for spinners when we play at home as there are times when pacers are able to bowl just four or five overs due to the slowness of the pitch, and we [spinners] have to take the responsibility of bowling longer spells. At the same time, I should also mention that Test cricket gives us enough time to adjust and adapt to the pitch and read the mindset of the batsmen,” Taijul told The Daily Star yesterday.
Former New Zealand left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori has replaced former Indian spinner Sunil Joshi as Bangladesh’s new spin coach and Taijul was looking forward to working on his variations with Vettori.
“Sunil Joshi helped me to work on bowling consistently at a certain area for longer periods which worked well for me. Vettori is a legend; it is very fortunate for the spinners of Bangladesh that we are going to get his input. We will try to learn as much as we can from him. Personally, I would like to work on my variations with Vettori. In Test cricket, the opponents do the homework before facing the bowlers and so, the variations are very important for a spinner,” he said.
Taijul has taken 47 wickets in his last 10 Tests for Bangladesh, including four five-wicket hauls, but he informed that things have been difficult for Bangladesh recently in the absence of Shakib.
“Things are tough without Shakib bhai. He has the experience and he is the number one all-rounder in the world. The opposition batsmen play him carefully, which creates chances for bowlers like us. His presence makes our job easy. He will join in the next series, which is good news for Bangladesh.”
Bangladesh’s spinners have taken 126 wickets in the last 10 Tests, while pacers have bagged 24 scalps.
Spinners accounted for 161 wickets in the last 10 home Tests with the pacers taking just 15.
Taijul, who played in eight of Bangladesh’s last 10 Tests, has taken 45 wickets – the highest over that period. Mehedi Hasan Miraz has 43 scalps in nine Tests and Shakib 17 wickets, having played four of the last 10 Tests.