Bangladesh v West Indies, 1st ODI, Khulna

Gazi imbibes Saqlain's wisdom

After another impressive debut, the benefits of working with Saqlain Mushtaq are clear for Sohag Gazi

Mohammad Isam in Khulna

November 30, 2012

Comments: 21 | Text size: A | A

Sohag Gazi picked up four wickets on ODI debut, Bangladesh v West Indies, 1st ODI, Khulna, November 30, 2012
Sohag Gazi recorded the best bowling figures by a Bangladeshi on ODI debut © Associated Press

The day before the first ODI against West Indies, Sohag Gazi spent close to an hour bowling at Saqlain Mushtaq. The former Pakistan offspinner stood behind one stump, baseball mitt in one hand, on the wicket next to the one where the Bangladesh offspinner would make his ODI debut.

Apart from the bowling, the only other activity during the whole exercise was when Saqlain moved the markers. It happened only a few times, to indicate what lines and length to bowl when the bowler switched to around the wicket, but there was very little exchange of words. It was clear that the plans were set and had been spelled out to the youngster, who devotedly carried them out the next day.

Gazi's 4 for 29 were the best bowling figures for a Bangladesh bowler on debut in one-day cricket, beating Rubel Hossain's 4 for 33. The first plan was to keep bowling full to Chris Gayle because Saqlain had told him of the Jamaican's strength off the back foot. That sounds like a ploy to keep Gazi from bowling short and the offspinner obliged. Gayle got out early, off his second delivery, and though the ball was fuller than where a conventional offbreak would land, the trajectory pulled Gayle out of his crease. Tamim Iqbal completed the dismissal with a superb catch at long-on, giving Bangladesh some breathing space.

That success brought another, in the next over. Gazi was confident enough to try a similar length to Marlon Samuels, and the in-form batsman's drive was not a committed attempt as he edged to slip that had been in place for that over. Devon Thomas holed out to long-on after a clever little move from captain, Mushfiqur Rahim, and Gazi completed his four-for with the crucial dismissal of Sunil Narine in the 47th over, just as the West Indies tail threatened to take the game away from Bangladesh.

Apart from the wickets, Gazi's build-up of pressure on the West Indies batsman, in his three spells, was central to Bangladesh's dominance with the ball. It helped free up one end for Mushfiqur, who rotated his bowlers, and gave the captain enough room to manoeuvre the more experienced Abdur Razzak's overs. It was all Saqlain and Gazi had talked about. Saqlain discussed the need to create pressure through dot balls, a different way to see the new fielding restrictions that leave five fielders inside the circle for 35 overs in the game.

Gazi has so far carried out whatever he has been asked to do. He should have been flustered when Gayle banged him for two sixes in his first over of international cricket - as happened in the Dhaka Test - but Mushfiqur calmed him down with the assurance of another over. He could have grown impatient when long periods of bowling drew little results in the Test but he didn't and was rewarded.

He is slowly changing from the offspinner who bowls unchanged from one end for Barisal, to a well-rounded spinner. But he has had to quickly change his nature. Now a keener personality, Gazi has opened up, which is significant for a young man from a small town as far away as Patuakhali, which is way down on the southwestern coast of the country.

Three months before Gazi had gone anywhere near Gayle, he was desperately seeking some time with Saqlain, then the newly appointed spin bowling consultant of the Bangladesh team. He wanted to improve on his action, the lengths to bowl and have a clearer idea about bowling plans. He wanted to take all these back to Barisal Division to get more wickets in first-class cricket.

But at that time he was hesitant to approach such a big name in spin bowling. Now that he has met, spoken and planned so many wickets with Saqlain, it is time he asks more questions and finds out a lot more about offspin than he would ever learn on his own.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

RSS Feeds: Mohammad Isam

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Desihungama on (December 1, 2012, 15:49 GMT)

Wow. All Pakistanis are helping every one but no one is helping the Pakistan Cricket. Good luck Bangladesh.

Posted by newnomi on (December 1, 2012, 9:30 GMT)

Come on, Saqqi! Way to go, proud of you, man.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 8:29 GMT)

We want Mr. Saqlain Mushtaq as our spin bowling coach for 4 years atleast. He is so dedicated with his world's best skills. So please BCB extend his contact.

Posted by bored_iam on (December 1, 2012, 6:23 GMT)

Im going to invite th wrath of many SL fans but i daresay Saqlain was a better bowler than Murali, whose career was cut short by injury and politics.

Posted by on (December 1, 2012, 4:40 GMT)

Saqlain was an extremely good bowler, but no one remembers who was the Pakistan coach. Now when Sohag is bowling so well, all credit goes to the bowling coach. It is annoying. Give the young man some credit. He seemed promising in internal and under 19 cricket.

Posted by TheBlackMonk on (December 1, 2012, 4:27 GMT)

Saqlain should work with Shakib a bit more as well cause he's loosing his killing intent now these days! I want that old Shakib back.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 3:40 GMT)

Can't India utilize the services of Bedi, Venkat or Kumble to coach our current Indian spinners ?

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 23:59 GMT)

He seems to be a good bowler. Certainly better than the barrage of left arm spinners that we have. I hope he goes the distance.

Posted by Baundele on (November 30, 2012, 21:38 GMT)

The guy got a direct entry from the first class cricket and you find Saqlain behind his success. How funny!

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (November 30, 2012, 20:03 GMT)

Both, Mushy and Saqi are making a great impact with their coaching. Mushy is helping English spin pair to dominate indian spinners and here is another great story of Gazi being benefited.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 19:56 GMT)

BCB should try each and every effort to keep "Great Saqlain" as their spin coach for long term. I think that If BCB renew its contact with Saqlain, Bangladeshi will see many players like "Gazi". As a Bangladeshi cricket fan, I hope that BCB will take necessary step to renew Saqlain's contact. May Allah with Bangladesh.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 19:49 GMT)

Well done Ghazi and Saqlain. Getting an spin legend as a coach at a stage when you are just starting your career is priceless. Credit also goes the board for bringing Saqlain in at a time when most of the Bangladeshi spinners were left handers making the spin attack more monotonous. Team also needs a good batting coach who can improve the batting temperament for different formats.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 19:36 GMT)

Well lets hope he learns more from Saqi so that we get our own world class off-spiner. There's no doubt that Saqlain is the best off-spinner ever.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 18:42 GMT)

shohag gazi has definitely done a good job. congratulation to both of them.

Posted by Shantunu07 on (November 30, 2012, 18:36 GMT)

I think Saqlain Mushtaq has done a great job to improve our spin attack. Especially in offspin bowling.

Posted by ahassan on (November 30, 2012, 18:35 GMT)

Well done Sohag Gazi. Keep it up. You have become the record holder of best bowling figures on debut in tests and ODI's for Bangladesh. You have a great future ahead if you keep working hard.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 17:50 GMT)

Saqlain deserves thanks from Bangladeshi fans and teams. Selectors should also be praised for their selection of Gazi who helps BD team attacking with some variety.

Posted by Mullick on (November 30, 2012, 17:27 GMT)

A well written piece from Isam. We have high hopes on Gazi and want to see him living up o our expectation. Way to go Gazi.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 16:53 GMT)

Well Done Gazi. Try to learn the "Doosra" from the Master.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 16:51 GMT)

Simply superb!! you will shine as much as suqlain mustak, keep it up, work harder

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 16:18 GMT)

The spin quartet of Gazi, Razzak, Shakib and Mahmudullah can be devastating to any opposition especially on spinning tracks.

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