Bangladesh are yet to decide the final eleven for the opening Test against New Zealand that starts in Wellington on Thursday. But one thing is guaranteed -- Taskin Ahmed will make his Test debut on the green top of the Basin Reserve, a safe assumption as the right-arm pace bowler appeared at the pre-match briefing today.
It is customary for someone who is playing to confront the media before a game and when Taskin appeared at the media session after the team's training with a big smile on his face, he looked very excited at the prospect of donning the white shirt and taking the shiny red ball for the Tigers.
“It will be a dream-come-true if I can make my debut in the next game. In the last three years in all the series I have played, I was leaving the team either after the one-day or T20 series. This is the only occasion I'm staying back. If I get the opportunity I will give my best and playing a Test match will be the best moment of my career,” said the excited 22-year-old.
His excitement was more befitting because as pace bowler he could not have asked for a better ground to make his Test debut.
“Obviously bowlers are very happy after looking at that pitch. It's greenish and hard; it's good to bowl on. I'm also very happy. We have a couple of good fast bowlers. We already proved that we can do well. If we can bowl to our potential I hope we can make a difference,” he added.
He also admitted that he was enjoying every moment leading up to that dream day.
“'Hey, you will play a Test,' everyone is laughing and telling me. I'm also enjoying it. Everyone is inspiring me,” he said with a broad smile on his face.
When asked if this is the format he can bowl really fast and express himself fully, he said that control is more important than pace on any wicket.
“There will be more movement on this wicket. I will be aggressive, but aggression alone will not help against them because they play pace very well. As a bowler I will have to be aggressive as well as disciplined and the challenge will be to bowl in the right areas,” explained the pacer, who however has played only 10 first-class matches.
He said he has been working hard for two years to improve his fitness level as well as regaining the energy it requires to sustain in the longer version.
“I had to work hard to get an opportunity to be in the Test squad. Everybody in the team helped me. A special programme has been arranged for me. I have been doing it for the last two years and I have played two practice games as part of my Test preparation. Of course, I'm fitter now and my goal is not just to play one Test but play for a long time,” Taskin opined.
He also said that he was not worried about the workload a fast bowler has to undertake in seaming conditions like New Zealand, where spinners are second-grade options.
“I'm not worried about the volume. If I had played first-class cricket I would have had to put in a lot of effort. I have only played 10 first class games. My focus will be to give hundred per cent on the field. There were so many days that I had to bowl 12-13 overs in the nets with the new and old balls. I'm also learning how to swing the red ball and I believe that if I can play Tests I will become stronger,” observed the pace bowler from Dhaka.
He said bowling both with the wind and against it is difficult, but he was quick to say that it will be hard to learn those crafts if someone does not get the opportunity.
“These are certainly different conditions but we will have to adjust. And the quicker you adjust, the better for you. [Tim] Southee and [Trent] Boult are successful bowlers. But there was a time when they played their opening Test. We are starting now and if we can continue like them we will also become good bowlers. We have got Courtney Walsh we are learning from him. Experience-wise we will lack behind but we believe that we are capable of playing Test,” said a confident Taskin.