New Zealand in Bangladesh, 2013-14 October 6, 2013

'Will definitely miss Saqlain' - Gazi


Sohag Gazi, the Bangladesh offspinner, admitted he will miss spin bowling consultant Saqlain Mushtaq as he prepares for the home series against New Zealand.

This will be Gazi's second series without Saqlain, who has a 100-day per year contract with the BCB. Saqlain was with the team for the West Indies series in 2012 and the tour of Zimbabwe in May this year and although he had announced intentions of joining the team last month, the BCB's cricket operations committee preferred to use his services for the World T20 at home next March.

"I will definitely miss him," Gazi told ESPNcricinfo. "He won't be here all the time. I will try to use his advice. We have had a lot of discussions about bowling and specific field settings. He shared a lot of tips with me. His words are sometimes so inspiring that it brings out the best in a cricketer."

Gazi's preparations have included a lot of bowling and chatting with senior spinners like Abdur Razzak before the first Test begins in Chittagong on Wednesday.

"I have been talking to Shakib bhai and [Abdur Razzak] Raj bhai, about playing in Chittagong because I have never played a Test match here," he said. "They have told me to stay positive. The spinners will look to bowl at a proper length, and be strict with our lines."

Gazi had benefited greatly from Saqlain's presence last year in his debut Test series against West Indies. He spent hours with the former Pakistan offspinner ahead and during that Test and ODI series, learning about the length to bowl, flight variations and field settings, among other things. He ended up with 12 wickets in the two Tests and nine in the five ODIs.

Faced with the challenge of bowling away from home in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe earlier this year, Gazi bowled far too quickly and was at times predictable, though he picked up 14 wickets in four Tests. He was not picked in the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe, which served as a reminder that even good form in Test cricket doesn't guarantee anything at this level.

He was put on A team duty but the tour to England turned out to be a wretched one: Gazi claimed five wickets in seven matches at an average of 70, and a strike-rate of 75.60. His recent Dhaka Premier League performance, though, makes better reading with 10 wickets from six games for Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club.

"The England tour was a tough one," Gazi said. "I will have to bounce back from that. I am working very hard, doing a lot of spot-bowling. I have made some flight variations, so I am hoping to use it in the series." Gazi will compete with Razzak for a place in the starting XI.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chris on October 7, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    Bangladesh will win with ease.

  • Murad on October 7, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    "BCB's cricket operations committee preferred to use his services for the World T20 at home next March." T20 WC is more important than the Test series? No wonder we are forever no.10.

  • achint on October 7, 2013, 9:47 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)

  • Dummy4 on October 7, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    coach is not only for getting tips but also for brand-new situation match is different to, you need a coach in every match.

  • Shoaib on October 6, 2013, 19:26 GMT

    Razzak doesn't turn the ball much. He's too predictable in tests and that's why his record ain't that great. His bowling is much suited to the limited overs and it will be silly playing 2 left arm spinners in this test series. Gazi is the much better option plus can bat a bit.

  • Syed on October 6, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    Watch out for Gazi NZ! Ever since his performance against West Indies, people have begun to take notice of him! If Razzak gets picked over him I will be very surprised but I doubt it. If Razzak were to play it would be in place of one of the seamers or one of the batsmen, probably Naeem/ Mominul therefore Shakib will have to play at No.4 which would be a bad idea since he will also be relied on with the bat.

  • Muhammad Rakibul on October 6, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    It's a shame for BCB. They opted to have the service of Saqlain for WT20 instead of full series vs NZ. Improvement in Test is most important for BD. Spin is the only weapon for BD bowling attack in tests, so BD spinners need a mentor like him during this Test series.

  • Dummy4 on October 6, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    Saqlain should be hired by the BCB and given a longer contract. He has done well with Gazi and some upcoming spinners. I also, hope BCB goes outside Dhaka and holds camps in smaller cities to find more talents. All the best.

  • Dummy4 on October 6, 2013, 15:47 GMT

    oviously bd will miss saqline. he is one of the best spin coach. bcb should have arranged him for this series.