Minhajul Abedin, the Bangladesh chief selector, said on Sunday (January 31) that they have picked five pace bowlers in their Test squad for the upcoming series against West Indies in order to develop a pace unit to do well abroad.
Earlier, Bangladesh’s head coach Russell Domingo had insisted during the tour of India that the country’s cricket culture needed a paradigm shift, one that could rely on its pacers to win Test matches even at home like the way their Asian neighbours now operate.
Bangladesh are yet to develop such a pace battery. In home conditions, they have relied on their spin attack to bowl out the opposition teams. However, that ploy doesn’t pay off when they are playing abroad.
Picking five pace bowlers – Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Zayed, Ebadat Hossain, Hasan Mahmud – was a surprising move given that in their previous Test in Chattogram, in 2018 against Afghanistan, they had opted for an all-spin attack.
However, they were outplayed by Afghanistan in that Test. Minhajul opined that they are looking to bring a change in their culture by trying to back their pace bowlers and with their next Test assignment scheduled in Sri Lanka in April, they are even more keen on the move considering Sri Lanka have laid out green-tops against Bangladesh at home in recent years.
“We need to think about playing abroad and that is the sole reason we are trying to promote the pace bowlers,” said Minhajul on Sunday. “It’s not certain whether all the five selected pacers would be fit and sound throughout the series because keeping top-level stamina would be pretty hard in Test matches. That is why we have selected five of them.
“I hope they would maintain the same kind of fitness level in both the Tests,” he added. “The 18-members squad has been selected considering so many factors, as in the desperate times of the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to be concerned about players getting sick, and the replacement has to be done immediately,
“We have selected players keeping the Test squad in consideration, as the players outside the selection pool also need to be groomed, working with the team management, and remain under a constant structure,” he said.
Bangladesh will play the first Test against West Indies at Chattogram (February 3-7) before returning to Dhaka for the second Test, beginning February 11.