Even during short breaks, it is a big challenge for fast bowlers to maintain their fitness levels, so when the Bangladesh national players played a two-day practice game among themselves after seven months away from the game, the challenge was a big one for the fast men.
And happily for the Tigers, while the game between Ottis Gibson XI and Ryan Cook XI ended in a draw at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, it was a win of sorts for the fast bowlers.
Initially seamers like Mustafizur Rahman, Al Amin Hossain and Khaled Ahmed got off to a rusty start but the likes of Taskin Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain and Hasan Mahmud provided head coach Russell Domingo much to be positive about after such a long break.
Taskin was the brightest of the lot, picking up three wickets for Ryan Cook XI and more importantly, the tall pacer looked in a fine shape throughout the practice match.
"It was indeed a great feeling to able to play a game after a long gap. Obviously, we have been working on our fitness for quite some time now but it is always a different challenge when you play a game. I felt in good rhythm with the ball and tried to utilise the opportunity," said Taskin.
Young seamer Mahmud was also impressive. He had only one wicket to show for his efforts, but that one wicket was precious for the gem of a delivery that produced it and the batsman it sent back – the solid and experienced Mushfiqur Rahim, who had his stumps uprooted with a length ball.
Domingo said during the virtual press conference on Friday that the team management is focused on developing a group of six to seven good fast bowlers who could play across all formats and, more importantly, perform abroad.
"If we can have fast bowlers who put pressure on opposition batsmen away from home, that's going to help us become a lot more competitive. At the moment, I think we are on the right track with that group of bowlers," said Domingo on Saturday.
It is also important to prepare pitches at home that suit pacers and that was seen during the practice game as the Mirpur deck offered both bounce and carry.
With no international matches in the near future, Domingo will surely keep a close eye on the seamers in the upcoming practice games, as well as the domestic circuit in the coming days.