Challenge is to keep improving | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 27, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:49 AM, February 27, 2020

Challenge is to keep improving

The innings and 106-run win over Zimbabwe may not have fully made up for Bangladesh's six-match losing streak in Tests leading up to that match, but there are still some obvious positives to take from this victory. 

Regardless of Zimbabwe's strength when compared to top Test sides like India and Pakistan, Bangladesh can see the win as a step towards the mantra of developing their Test culture under head coach Russell Domingo, who stated the need to do that before the match.

A good cricketing culture requires healthy competition for places in the team and a system that enables cricketers to take their games to the next level.

The Bangladesh team management are always hard pressed to identify and produce worthy replacements for injured or underperforming players, which has in turn forced selectors to revisit players who were dropped not long ago.

Due to the lack of healthy competition with players coming in and improving upon their predecessors in meaningful ways, out-of-favour players only have to wait for a poor performance by his competitor instead of developing his game further. The result is that when he is slots back in the team, there is not a noticeable impact on his own performance or that of the team.

Since breaking into the international circuit with a five-wicket haul on debut against the West Indies in 2018, young off-spinner Nayeem Hasan continued to display his quality and has managed to create a place in the team by replacing the previous specialist off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz, who had a similarly auspicious start to his international career.

A string of underwhelming performances from Mehedi led to him being dropped from a home Test for the first time since his debut in 2016.

It will be a tough ask now for Mehedi to make a comeback and so it seems that there is actually healthy competition as the 22-year-old would have to do something extraordinary and forget about whatever he has achieved so far.

Nayeem's variety -- he uses his height and accuracy and tries to mix it up with his pace and bounce -- benefited him even on a sporting Mirpur pitch as he picked up his second five-wicket haul in his fifth Test and ended up bagging nine wickets against Zimbabwe.

Now, The 19-year-old can either learn from his predecessor and continue adding tricks and levels to his art or, like Mehedi, remain a bowler who can only threaten quality batting orders when conditions are loaded in his favour. 

Bangladesh has the likes of spin legend Daniel Vettori who could offer his vast experience, both in terms of mentality and skill, but he will have to buck a trend as history is rife with Bangladesh players unable to draw the best from the available resources.

According to spin consultant Vettori, a majority of the players have the knowledge and it's a matter of realising that they need to improve every day.

"It's just giving them some experience, just giving them some understanding of how they can be a little bit better. There are not many spinners who can do what Nayeem's done. He has done it at such a young age. You know Taijul is not pretty old, Miraz is young as well, so I think these guys are really talented spinners and they can always get better," Vettori told reporters yesterday.

Nayeem and others who have performed against Zimbabwe should not rest on their laurels. Where Bangladesh go from here depends on whether players like him truly believe that they have to improve every day. It is up to Nayeem to keep improving and it is up to Mehedi to make sure the youngster does not get too comfortable.

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