Bangladesh v New Zealand, 1st ODI, Mirpur October 28, 2013

Death bowling, Rubel's new-ball skills put to test

Bangladesh should depend less on their spinners in the death overs and their seamers need to build their fitness to last 50 overs, says coach Shane Jurgensen

Some of the challenges Bangladesh will face over the next week in the one-dayers will be their bowlers' vulnerability in the death overs and Rubel Hossain's skills with the new ball.

In his last few years at the international level, Rubel has struggled with the new ball. In the just-concluded Test series, he picked up just one wicket, that of the nightwatchman Bruce Martin caught behind trying to pull a short ball. Though it was with a 10-over old second new ball, it wasn't what a fast bowler would be too proud of. His performance with the new white ball, however, has improved after he was smashed by Sri Lanka in Hambantota earlier this year, and an ordinary England tour for Bangladesh A. Over the last three years, Rubel has conceded less than four runs an over in six one-day matches (List A included).

In early October, he led the wicket charts in the ongoing Dhaka Premier Division, picking up all his 19 wickets for Gazi Tank opening the bowling. This change in form, although not reflected in his Test performance, has shown coach Shane Jurgensen a different side to his personality.

"I have picked up on a different Rubel," Jurgensen told ESPNcricinfo. "He is more confident now. His next challenge is to work on the new ball. He also has to work on his lengths. Like Lasith Malinga - and I am not saying that because their actions are a little similar - he has to challenge the batsmen full rather than short. He has the extra pace and is definitely worth persisting with.

"Rubel was very good with the old ball in both Tests. He was very unlucky not to get wickets. There were edges that didn't go to hand, went between the wicketkeeper and slips. I am definitely not satisfied (with his new-ball bowling). We need more work in this area."

Jurgensen is also worried about Bangladesh's death bowling. Off late, Rubel's old-ball skills have worked in containing the batsmen but the captain Mushfiqur Rahim has had to rely on the spinners in the last few overs. The plan this year during the off season was to make the fast bowlers fit enough to last 50 overs, in case they are asked to bowl at the death.

"With the two new balls, you have to think about the balance of your side a little bit more. We have done a lot of work on their fitness, so our plan is for the fitness to take them through the 50 overs," Jurgensen said.

"There have been times, at the death, when we haven't executed and it has cost us matches. Our big challenge in this series is whether we can execute at the death. It will carry into the other areas of our game as well."

But Jurgensen is hopeful that the spin attack, particularly Shakib Al Hasan, can continue to be on top of their game. Shakib took a five-wicket haul in the second Test in Dhaka, his first since December 2011. He has also guided Sohag Gazi in the absence of spin bowling consultant Saqlain Mushtaq. Although Abdur Razzak couldn't get much out of the placid wickets in Chittagong and Mirpur, Jurgensen praised their attitude.

"Shakib's bowling was a really fantastic sign. He just looked switched on. In your key game, you would want your best players up for the challenge. He hardly bowled a bad ball. It is great to have Razzak on, because of his leadership skills on and off the field.

"We didn't have the support of Saqlain Mushtaq this time, but I think that has created an opportunity for them, as a bowling group, to step up. You can have all the coaches in the world, you have to improve every day you train and play. Razzak always tries to get better," he said.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on October 29, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Rubel should be dropped from all sort of cricket. Extremely useless with the ball (old or new). All he can do is give bad balls over and over again to the opposing batsman. Bowlers are meant to take wickets or atleast keep the batsman in pressure with good line and length. Unfortunately he can't do any of the above. All I can say he is a specialist bad bowler. #poorbowler #goodfornothing #bdforlife.

  • Dummy4 on October 29, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    he should be more careful with his length.,.,his short balls r worst.,..,..,need to work on it.,and he might be used in new ball.,.,.but after 10 overs later he is handy for the team as well.,.,.

  • Dummy4 on October 29, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    Why Rubel in Bangladesh Team ? Why not Nazmul or Others ? Rubel is not a bowler who can win a match . If Sakib misses ODI , Bangladesh will face serious problem in Bowling . Eventually Bangladesh is lagging behind in this series .

  • Dummy4 on October 29, 2013, 0:40 GMT

    I've been a fan of Rubel since he started his international career. His debut match where he took 4 wk against SL convinced he could be a good pacer for us. I know he had a lot of work to do in order to be successful since being a pacer, especially in the subcontinent is hard work. After all these years, I think all of us can say he's not at the level where he should be. I'm aware of the fact that he's our 4th highest wicket taker in our wins against the G8 in ODIs so he's a performer but the problem is still the inconsistency in ODIs and the consistently poor performances in Tests. The positive is that he's still young, only 23 about to be 24, so he still has time on his side but time has come where he becomes more consistent. He should be the leader of our pace attack by now. Hope he can come through big in this series as it's a very important one for him.

  • Hasib on October 28, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    I lost my faith in this bowler a long time ago. Al Amin was just as successful in the DPL. He will be a better choice. If BD wants to win, they will have to drop this one player, Rubel, for sure. The 2 teams are almost evenly matched and neither team will win by a big margin. Including Rubel will make Bangladesh the weakest of the 2 teams.

  • Dummy4 on October 28, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    @Sahil Drall: While I agree with you that past is past, I'm amazed at your claim that kiwis didn't send their best team during that tour! Never heard of this before!Could you remember that Bangladesh's best batsman Tamim Iqbal took no part in the series and their best pacer Mashrafee was available for only one match!New Zealand would be a much harder opponent this time because of : 1) The surprise factor would not be there, this NZ team knows what Bangladesh are capable of; and,2) This time they played 2 tests before the ODI series (and organized training camp in Sri Lanka to get acclimatized to sub-continent pitches), so are prepared betterthan 2010. All said, I think this series is evenly poised; because of New Zealand's relative strength and Bangladesh's home advantage. Just one point : if Bangladesh wins, please don't say that NZ lost because they were not at full strength ( with Guptill, Ryder and Vettori unavailable for different reasons!)

  • Golam on October 28, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    Hope Rubel goes much fuller this time & maintain the line & surprise the batsman with some accurate short ball if he is in first eleven or Al Amin can be the other option & I think this fellow has the accuresy which needs in one day game !! Shafiul will be missing & I am not sure about Mashrafi !?!

  • Dummy4 on October 28, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    It's our bowling at the death overs which costs us matches more often than not. With two new balls to start with under the new rule puts us in more danger as we heavily rely on our spinners for containing the batsmen and also getting wickets. It's high time we produced some quality fast bowlers who ball with their minds as well. Because under the new rule, only four players will be allowed to protect the boundary and the margin of error will be very minimum for the bowlers.

  • Dummy4 on October 28, 2013, 16:27 GMT

    Why Bangladesh cant understand that was past & kiwis haven't sent their main players in 2010 tour of Bangladesh..... Now they have senior and well experienced players in their such as McCullum, Taylor, Tim Southee.... & they have changed a lot after tour of Bangladesh 2010. In starting of this year they defeated South Africa & England....Their confidence is lifted up & Bangladesh should not forget World Cup 2012 t20 match against Black caps. Be-aware Bangladesh its time for revenge. Best of luck New Zeland i will cheer for u buddies.

  • Dummy4 on October 28, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    after all the toss will be the key factor in the match