With the certainty of the ODIs behind them, Bangladesh now are on the verge of re-entering their most vulnerable format -- Test cricket. Before an ODI series there is widespread anticipation of famous wins among Tigers fans, and that has as much to do with their settled line-up as it does with the improvement since 2014.
In the oldest and most prestigious format of the game, however, prolonged gaps between series work against a settled combination, especially the bowling line-up which routinely struggles to take the 20 wickets that are necessary to win games.
Many fans may have been looking forward to a certain fast bowler to don the whites for the first time in at least one of the two Tests against England. Taskin Ahmed’s pace and success in ODIs has captured the imagination of fans countrywide, but coach Chandika Hathurusingha has, for the time being, poured cold water over those hopes.
“Has he played any four-day cricket?” was his retort when asked if Taskin will be part of the Test series. “You think people can do magic straight away? No.”
Chandika was speaking during Bangladesh’s practice session in searing heat in Chittagong’s Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Saturday. To answer Hathurusingha’s first question, Taskin had played four-day cricket, but that was more than three-and-a-half years ago in February 2013.
“They are humans. If you haven’t played four-day cricket in your entire life, standing four days on the field and bowling 15 overs is entirely new for him. I don’t want to destroy somebody’s career,” Hathurusingha added.
Speculation surrounding Taskin’s role in the Test series gathered steam after he was included in the second two-day practice match pitting a BCB XI against the tourists starting on Sunday. According to chief selector Minhajul Abedin, there never was a plan to blood him in the upcoming Test series.
“He wasn’t in the picture for the Test series anyway. He will play the second practice match as he is part of our long-term plans,” Minhajul said when contacted. He added that Taskin was not yet fit enough for Test cricket.
When asked whether the 21-year-old fast bowler, who only returned after his bowling action was cleared in late September, will be in the picture for the New Zealand Tests starting late December, Minhajul said: “We will have to see how he goes; we cannot say for sure yet.”