BCB XI v New Zealanders, 1st day, Chittagong October 4, 2013

Patient Marshall waits for his chance


Marshall Ayub is waiting patiently to grab his first opportunity in international cricket but the heavy downpour in Chittagong meant that his only chance of getting some practice before his likely Test debut appeared slim. Rather than having an innings under his belt, he has to content with thinking about is last century and plan his indoor nets using advice from the man who's position he could be taking.

That last century was his sixth since February 2012 and it came in a three-day practice match in Khulna played among Bangladesh's 30-man preliminary squad for the New Zealand series in early September. It came from No. 3, a position for which Bangladesh are desperate to find a new batsman, and more importantly, it caught coach Shane Jurgensen's eye.

Habibul Bashar, Bangladesh's best-ever No. 3 and coincidentally the selector present at the game, said at the time that it will be an innings to talk about when they select the first Test squad.

"The 156 in Khulna got me back into reckoning [for the Bangladesh side]," Marshall told ESPNcricinfo. "I had an ordinary tour of England for Bangladesh A (in August this year). I thought I may have lost out on the progress I had made before this tour. I had scored some runs in the last domestic season but I just had to score in my first innings back from England."

He returned from England with 139 runs from eight one-day innings, with a highest score of 39 against Hampshire. It was a setback for Marshall, after he had scored 1,069 first-class runs with four centuries in the 2012-13 season. That welcome run of form came after a few average seasons Marshall had to endure on his return to first-class cricket following a career-threatening injury five years ago.

From an underwhelming talented batsman who had three first-class centuries, he struck four more and increased his average from 26.8 to 36.9 in the space of 17 innings in the National Cricket League (for Dhaka Metropolis) and the Bangladesh Cricket League (for Central Zone).

Mohammad Ashraful, his senior teammate in first-class cricket, told him to increase his endurance, which would translate to better concentration for longer innings. "It was a simple piece of advice from Ashraful bhai. He told me to increase the intensity of my training sessions. I have to run more laps, for instance, so that my concentration increases.

"I had to bat longer in the nets, so that I got used to playing longer innings. I had to do all of that in the field, but that advice really helped. Endurance, fitness and longevity in the field are all connected together," Marshall said.

As a quirk of fate, Marshall is now closest to taking Ashraful's No. 3 slot after the former Bangladesh captain was provisionally suspended for alleged involvement in corruption during the BPL.

Their batting styles could not be any more different as Marshall likes to take a more traditional approach to building an innings, coupled with his overall quiet and calm disposition. Jurgensen and the rest of the Bangladesh team management have been looking for a batsman with solidity in a line-up that is full of aggressive batsmen like Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain.

Marshall could be their answer, but No. 3 has been a troubled position in the Bangladesh team since Bashar's retirement. Drafting in a new guy in one of the most important places in the team is a major call, so Marshall has to be in control of his emotions, as he has always been through the most difficult of times.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 6, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    I hope it will be a very enjoyable series.

  • Syed on October 5, 2013, 15:35 GMT

    Well, Marshall will take his chance because everytime he has been overlooked he has come back with a century in domestic. But his skill will be tested by these very good NZ pacers.

  • Shuzi on October 5, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    Marshall is one of the youngsters I really like for tests. However, he has to work hard. Even after century of centuries, Tendulkar continues to work harder than most. There is no shortcut to success.

  • Tauhidul on October 5, 2013, 13:34 GMT

    I think my Bangladeshi brothers are getting a bit too overconfident here. Spinning wicket is not the solution to win test matches. What if we Bangladeshis get caught in the spin web? Though New Zealand don't have Vettori, you do not need good bowlers or good deliveries to get Bangladeshi batsmen out. I hope the team proves me wrong though.

  • Kazi on October 5, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    This Test series will be very difficult for both Bangladesh & New Zealand...as Bangladesh would like to applying home condition but remember they are out of test cricket from April this year.. on the other hand New Zealand will be face difficulties without Vettori & couple of uncapped who are unexperienced with sub continent condition..

  • achint on October 5, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    I cant believe that Bangladesh fans think that their side is going to win or even draw a test. The ODI and T20 series is set to be competitive but that is not going to be the case for tests. NZ is a ever improving side and almost defeated Eng in a test series. On the other hand Bangladesh has enjoyed some success recently against WI and SL in ODIs but have been destroyed in tests.(except for the one solitary drawn test against SL on an absolute highway)

  • KH. RAFIQUE on October 5, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    Hope Marshall would make this thing count.Our teams composition is very balanced.Mahmudullah deserves a last chance before being dropped from the TEST side and regarding Mominul still is very shaky and needs to work more on that as we are thinking of SOLID TEST batsman who can consume at least 100 balls with ease and provide momentum to our team.Hope Marshall and Naeem would give us the TEST batsmen whom we are eagerly waiting for.Come on boys we can hunt the KIWIS.

  • Fatin on October 5, 2013, 1:44 GMT

    I agree with both of you. Marshall definitely deserves a chance at 3. However, rather than Zia, it would be more effective to have Mahmadullah in that position. I'm sure Mahmadullah will bounce back this series. Mominul is good test cricketer, so he should definitely be included in the first test. for the 1st test: Tamim, Naeem, Marshall, Shakib, Mushfiqur, Nasir, Mominul, Mahmadullah, Gazi, Al-Amin, and Robiul. Nasir took wickets recently in the domestic competition, and he can bowl both spin and medium pace, so that gives 3 "quicks" to bowl with. This team therefore has solid batsmen ( Tamim, Marshall, Nasir, Mominul, Mushfiqur), All rounders ( Naeem, Shakib, Mahmadullah) and bowlers ( Gazi, Robiul, Al- Amin) I hope both teams the best of luck. Bangladesh and New Zealand both should be wary of each others abilities. Bangladesh shouldn't come into this series being too overconfident, and New Zealand shouldn't take Bangladesh lightly at all.

  • TMoney on October 5, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    He has been a middle order batsmen throughout his whole career. I wouldn't bank on him being a success story at #3 (especially in international cricket). Will he cope with the swing of the new ball from the NZers? We will have to wait and see i guess. Bangladesh have never found a suitable candidate for the #3 spot for a very very long time so i wish all the best for Marshall Ayub to make that spot his own.

  • Dummy4 on October 4, 2013, 20:25 GMT

    I think Marshal should get a vast chance to play full serious at number 3 position, in the test squad. if he fails in 1st test it does not matter we should check him in the 2nd test as well, then he will b able to play his natural game without any pressure.. Mahmudullah should get chance in test over Zia, we need Experience and batting dept in number 8.

  • No featured comments at the moment.