Vision for the future still muddled | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 12, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:32 AM, February 12, 2021

Vision for the future still muddled

The Tigers' team management suddenly took a U-turn in Chattogram after all the talk of creating a good cricketing culture and giving more exposure to seamers prior to the start of the two-match Test series against the West Indies.

The think-tank had surprisingly opted to field just one seamer in the form of Mustafizur Rahman, who made a return to Test cricket following an impressive run in the preceding three-match ODI series. Alongisde him, Bangladesh opted for four spinners, but the lone seamer strategy failed to pay dividends once again.  At one point, Skipper Mominul Haque looked helpless after prime left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan was injured midway through the Test, leaving the Tigers distinctly lacking variety in the bowling attack.

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Mustafizur started the first Test on a promising note, picking up two wickets early in the innings. But since then, the 25-year-old has lost his rhythm, even being warned twice by the umpire for stepping onto the danger zone.

Following a shock defeat in the first Test in Chattogram, where the West Indies rode on Kyle Mayers's double ton and chased down a record 395 runs on the final day, many thought the team management would move on from their one-seamer strategy in the second Test.

But interestingly, Bangladesh technically stuck to the same game plan. Regular Test pacer Abu Jayed was included for the Mirpur Test in place of Mustafizur while Soumya Sarkar was included as a second seam option with his part-time medium pacers in place of the injured Shadman Islam. Batsman Mohammad Mithun was named as Shakib's replacement.

Jayed delivered for the Tigers and picked up two wickets -- including the hero of the first Test Kyle Mayers -- with his beautiful fuller-length deliveries and a hint of swing. However, he was more on the shorter side and could not trouble the Windies batters as the visitors dominated the first session.

Jayed came up with a more disciplined length and eventually got the reward. More importantly, he showed that even if there was nothing in the pitch, a seamer could still play a big part in the bowling attack. Jayed bowled 18 overs in the day at an economy of 2.50, with skipper Mominul using him in five short spells yesterday.

"As you know I am not an express fast bowler and I lack pace. But if I want to survive in international cricket, I have to focus on my length and line. I have no option except bowling in the right areas and I always keep that in my mind whenever I bowl," Jayed told the media yesterday.

Soumya also bowled at a decent length with his gentle medium pace and picked the wicket of Kraigg Brathwaite, tempting the right-hander into cutting at a delivery outside the off-stump and getting an edge.

The chop and change strategy from the Tigers team management, highlighted by including Mustafizur in the first Test and dropping him for the second, does not reflect the ideals of long-term planning.

On the other hand, the decision to not include Jayed in the first Test despite him being a regular feature in the Test side recently also does not send out a good message, especially for the seamers who are expected to deliver abroad.

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