A need for growing T20 bowling skills
It was Fortune Barishal skipper Shakib Al Hasan who said that bowlers have not quite turned up at the ninth edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), especially during night fixtures where pitches offered big scores.
As a format, the T20 mindset and culture is still in its primary period. The lack of T20s in the domestic circuit, except the BPL, has been brought up as a key reason for why it is more difficult to bring up players ready for the format.
The batters have found some rhythm and a few bowlers have shown their mettle so far, but as the Chattogram phase begins on Friday – with Chattogram Challengers taking on Fortune Barishal in the day's opening fixture – the onus will be on the bowlers to respond in kind on wickets where runs are expected.
Barishal's Ebadot Hossain talked about the same need for improvement. Although he referred to the quicks, spinners need to get on their game too.
"Chattogram's wickets are always batting-friendly. The fast bowlers need to improve their skill and bowl intelligently. Given that wickets are friendly for batters, the pacers with more skill will do better compared to others," Ebadot said while talking to reporters at Chattogram yesterday.
The national team pacer was not just talking about BPL success. He himself was at the receiving end of a bitter end to Bangladesh's Asia Cup campaign last year, when he bagged crucial wickets but Sri Lanka targeted him at the death and took him for runs to seize the game away from the Tigers. With ICC wickets providing sporting surfaces at the very least, it is the need of the hour to get accustomed to bowling on batting-friendly surfaces.India recently scored over 400 runs in the third ODI in Chattogram but the Bangladesh bowlers can take valuable lessons from the experience.
Sylhet Strikers skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza is the leading wicket-taker with seven wickets in this BPL alongside Al Amin Hossain. Mashrafe has brought his experience and new-ball bowling skills and has not been hit for too many runs. Al Amin though suffered, conceding an economy rate of over nine. Sylhet's other pace duo Rejaur Rahman Raja and Mohammad Amir are second on the list with six wickets. The freedom to express themselves has not only allowed batters but also the bowlers of Sylhet to shine.
"Raja bagged four wickets in the first game of the Dhaka phase. Everyone said that although the wicket was good, Raja bowled well. Wickets got better and better after that in Dhaka. Chattogram is always good, so if we can do well on these surfaces, it will help in the upcoming World Cup," said Ebadot.
When batters were able to show superiority, bowlers were not often on the mark. The yorkers have not come through while slower deliveries have been picked off when the surface has not held up slightly.
"You have to be accurate with your yorkers and slowers," he reminded, with death-bowling still a headache for the national side.
Ebadot said he has been working with his Bangladesh teammate and Comilla Victorians pacer Mustafizur Rahman to develop his cutters.
"My strength is to bowl fast and I have the yorker going for me. Along with that I am working on cutters and their accuracy. Mustafizur is good at cutters and I was learning from him. He changed the grip of my slower bouncers and it helped me," he said.
Working as a unit always works for pacers. Ebadot has Khaled Ahmed in his side. If the pacers can get their execution right in these BPL tracks, it will be the best thing for the national team.