Tigers spoilt for choice over pacers
From a team that only ever tried to 'spin to win', Bangladesh have now evolved into a pace-centric attack heading into the ICC World Cup in India.
This rise of the pace unit in recent years has emboldened the team management to bet on the fast bowlers and name five specialist quicks in the 15-man World Cup squad.
Bangladesh will now be looking towards the likes of Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, Hasan Mahmud and young Tanzim Hasan Sakib, who replaced an injured Ebadot Hossain, to make an impact in the mega event in India.
The last time Bangladeshi pacers had delivered in a major way for the team in a World Cup was in the 2015 edition in Australia.
The pacer who was the X-factor of the Bangladesh team in that World Cup was Rubel Hossain.
Rubel's fuller delivery uprooting the stumps of James Anderson and then him celebrating like a man possessed after taking the team to the quarterfinal of a World Cup for the very first time is one of the most iconic moments in the history of Bangladesh cricket.
Rubel has faith in the current lot of fast bowlers and believes they can look into the eyes of the other top pace attacks in the world and provide more of such iconic moments in the coming World Cup.
"I think we are going to witness some interesting battles among the pacers of different teams in this World Cup and I would like to see our pacers put their hands up and deliver," Rubel told the Daily Star.
"There are teams like Pakistan, Australia and India who have got some quality pacers but I expect our pacers to deliver this time around. If the batters can post enough runs on the board and give something for the bowlers to defend, I am confident our bowlers have the ability to restrict the opponent batters," he added.
Rubel's faith on the pace attack is backed by stats as in the 20 ODIs Bangladesh have played in 2023, the pacers have picked up 85 wickets whereas the spinners have claimed 50 scalps.
Taskin has been the highest wicket-taker for Bangladesh in ODIs this year as the seamer has bagged 21 wickets in 11 matches and has shown great consistency with the ball.
Hasan has picked up 17 wickets and left-arm pacer Shoriful has 16 wickets to his name in the same period. Tanzim, who made his ODI debut in the series against India, has a couple of wickets in two ODIs while the experienced Mustafiz has taken 15 wickets in 2023.
Rubel is also excited by the variety in the Bangladesh attack and feels that captain Shakib Al Hasan will be spoilt for choices in terms of pacers in the World Cup.
"I think we have a good balance in the team and our pace department has been doing really well in recent times. All the pacers have proved what they are capable of and I think we have good variety in our attack," said the 33-year-old.
"We have bowlers like Taskin who can bowl fast and attack the batters, Mustafiz brings in a lot of experience in the bowling unit and I think he will have a big role to play in Indian conditions with his variations.
"The likes of Hasan, Shoriful and Tanzim have also impressed with their slower deliveries and yorkers. They are all unique in their own ways which provides the captain the luxury to utilise his options according to the demand of the situation," Rubel concluded.