Tuesday, 26 October, 2021

Will BCB ever stop neglecting leggies?

Will BCB ever stop neglecting leggies?
Bangladesh spin consultant Rangana Herath (right) instructs leg-spinner Aminul Islam in a practice session at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur recently. – FILE PHOTO

The leg-spinner issue remains an outcast in Bangladesh’s cricketing landscape despite all the blubber of the Bangladesh Cricket Board in recent times.

Leg-spinner Aminul Islam and pacer Rubel Hossain went to Muskat, Oman with the Bangladesh team as standbys for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup but the BCB surprisingly announced on Saturday that they have decided only to keep Rubel and that too as back-up of injured pace bowlers.

Aminul will now take the return flight to Dhaka from Muskat while the others on Sunday left Oman for Abu Dhabi for the two scheduled practice matches on October 12 and 14 respectively against Sri Lanka and Ireland ahead of the World Cup.

The ICC has kept the provision of having reserve cricketers since the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy and every team is taking the opportunity in the upcoming event by picking several cricketers as travelling reserves taking the coronavirus situation into account.

However, Bangladesh seemed to have taken the opposite path in this regard and that too by exposing their lack of aptitude to promote a leg-spinner.

The BCB’s desperation to find a leg-spinner shone through when they enforced a bizarre rule in domestic cricket including instructing every team in the National Cricket League, the country’s traditional first-class competition, to field at least one leg-spinner, though it was not followed in the long run.

The T20 cricket poses a huge challenge for leg spinners as they can be quite expensive at times but they also give vital breakthroughs that change the complex of the whole game, a reason why Rashid Khan is considered most sought-after cricketer in all franchise-based T20 tournaments.

When the other countries named at least a leg-spinner in their squad ahead of the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup, Bangladesh seemed to be moving in the opposite direction.

Former Bangladesh part-time leg-spinner Alok Kapali claimed a hat-trick in Test cricket in 2003 against Pakistan and it’s the lone big achievement for a Bangladeshi leg-spinner so far.

Since then a couple of leg-spinners arrived with some promise but vanished soon as the Bangladesh team management didn’t back them on a regular basis in the playing XI.

In the current T20 bowlers ranking, seven out of the top 10 bowlers are spinners and the top four among them are leg-spinners.

In the near past, Jubair Hossain was considered as the only genuine leg-spinner in Bangladesh and the promising leg-spinner didn’t get the chance to showcase his ability.

Jubair’s career has taken a downward spiral ever since he lost his place in the Bangladesh squad five years ago due to poor form. He last played in November 2015 against Zimbabwe, his only T20 international in his entire career.

Other promising leg-spinners like Rishad Hossain, Minhajul Abedin Afridi and Tanbir Hayder also failed to get enough chances on a regular basis in recent years.

Meanwhile, BCB Game Development Chairman Khaled Mahmud said that they are planning to promote leg-spinners at the grassroots level adding that they will introduce a super sub formula in the upcoming age-level tournament.

“We will try to play two to three-day matches from now on in U-14/16. We will apply for a three-day match for U-16 and two-day matches for U-14. We will also add a super-sub for leg spinners if necessary.

“A leg-spinner will be mandatory to feature in all teams and he will have to bowl at least 20 overs per innings,” Mahmud told reporters on Sunday after completing a meeting with coaches.

“I tried to explain to coaches in development that it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, it's about the developing players,” said Mahmud.