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Bangladesh pacers to embrace ‘Dukes ball’ challenge

  • Sports Correspondent
  • 14 June, 2022 12:00 AM
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Bangladesh pacers to embrace ‘Dukes ball’ challenge
Bangladesh’s newly-appointed Test skipper Shakib Al Hasan (centre) pose for a photo with the other cricketers and coaching staff in Antigua on Sunday. The photo has been shared by Mehidy Hasan on his official Facebook page on Monday. –COLLECTED PHOTO

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Bangladesh pace bowlers will have to embrace a new ‘Dukes ball’ challenge against West Indies in the upcoming two-match Test series, scheduled to start on June 16 in Antigua.

Bangladesh’s current pace unit bowlers - Mustafizur Rahman, Ebadot Hossain, Khaled Ahmed and Rejaur Rahman Raja didn’t have the chance to play with Dukes ball so far in their career.

The reason behind it is none of them previously played any Test in England or West Indies respectively as these two countries are the only Test-playing nations to use this kind of balls while the others use Kookaburra and India use for SG balls.

The Kookaburra ball is flatter than the Dukes, which arguably fits better into a bowler’s fingers and the hand-stitched Dukes pronounced six rows of thread create more tension and provide more support, allowing the ball to do more off the seam.

There are more rows of thread underneath the two halves of leather of Dukes and it allows the ball to move more off the seam than Kookaburra. Again, its shape and seam also last longer than the latter.

Bangladesh pacers are known for bowling short-of-length deliveries more often. It tends to be a safer option trying to restrict run flow but with Dukes they need to be more adventurous and come out from the defensive mindset, at least with the new ball.

National discarded Abu Jayed, who was the most successful pace bowler during the last West Indies tour in 2018 by picking up seven wickets in two Tests, urged his teammates to bowl fuller with the Dukes considering that would help them more than anything else.

“The thing is that it swings a lot with the Dukes ball and it starts swinging after 10 to 15 overs. The length is very important with Dukes ball,” Jayed told The Daily Sun.

“If you are watching the Test series between England and New Zealand, the length their pace bowlers are bowling is the perfect length for Dukes considering you will have to bowl fuller with it.

“I don’t think short of good length deliveries are effective with Dukes ball but the short ball is different and if it (short ball) can be bowled in the right area then it will be effective.

“I was rewarded in West Indies for bowling fuller and that should be the ploy,” he added. Meanwhile, the three-day practice game between Bangladesh and CWI President’s XI ended in a draw on Sunday night.

The pace bowlers’ failure of getting early success will certainly be the talking point of the game despite the fact they grabbed all the eight wickets in the first innings.

Opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul (59) and Jeremy Solozano (92) put up a 109-run partnership in the opening stand before Rejaur broke the stand.

The hosts declared their first innings at 359-8 after the tourists declared at 310-7.

Mustafizur and Ebadot took three wickets each in CWI President’s XI innings while Tamim Iqbal made unbeaten 162 runs.

Bangladesh scored 47-1 in the second innings before both teams decided to settle down for a draw.