England v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Old Trafford June 3, 2010

Bangladesh ponder twin spin option


Jamie Siddons, the Bangladesh coach, is hoping the Old Trafford pitch offers assistance to his spinners, as his team aims to build on their efforts in the first Test and give England another tough five-day contest. Siddons believes a number of the home side's batsmen, including Kevin Pietersen, are susceptible against slow bowlers, but only if the conditions allow them to have an impact.

With warm weather forecast for at least the first three days in Manchester, the indications are that Bangladesh will give serious consideration to including Abdur Razzak, the left-arm spinner, alongside captain Shakib Al Hasan and offspinner Mahmudullah. It didn't escape Siddons' attention that Pietersen was again dismissed by Shakib in the first innings at Lord's, the 16th time he has fallen to a left-arm spinner.

"If it spins, like everyone is talking about, Shakib will worry the England players when it starts to turn. He's very good, as his figures suggest," said Siddons. "If it looks like it will turn, we might even play another spinner, play Razzak and put them under pressure with spin rather than pace, as that had no impact at Lord's.

"If it's faster, spinning and bouncing a bit, Shakib will be a real handful and there's a couple of players in the England side that do struggle against good spin," he added. "We need something, we need spin, that's our strength. Kevin [Pietersen] has been having trouble and hopefully keeps having trouble but he made [runs] in Dhaka which puts it on the other edge of that sword. They have a lot more trouble with spin than they do with our medium-pacers."

History suggests that Siddons could well get his wish. The last Test to be staged at Old Trafford, against New Zealand in 2008, was dominated by Monty Panesar and Daniel Vettori who took 6 for 37 and 5 for 66 respectively. There has also been turn this season for Lancashire's young left-arm spinner, Simon Kerrigan, who has had considerable success and has often been used early in the game.

However, a pitch that aids the spinners would also bring Graeme Swann into the match after a rare wicketless outing at Lord's. "Facing their spinners on the last day at Lord's there was no turn, it just skidded on, but here the spinners normally come into the game quite early because of the bounce, and on days three and four they can be a handful," said Andrew Strauss. "I was fairly happy with the way Graeme bowled, but they played him well and if he bowls like that again I'm sure he'll take some wickets."

It really is spin or bust for Bangladesh because, even taking into account Shahadat Hossain's five-wicket haul last week, their pace resources are thin. Siddons confirmed that there would be a change in the seam-bowling ranks with Shafiul Islam being recalled although it hadn't been decided which of Robiul Islam or Rubel Hossain would drop out - although both would disappear if two spinners played.

"Our bowling was horrendous," said Siddons. "On day one of the [Lord's] Test I was ready to go home. But I'm used to that with our bowlers, our bowlers have let us down a lot, particularly our fast bowlers. Our spin bowlers always bring things back.

"We lost the game on the first day and, again, there was so much pressure on our batsmen to save a game. We just can't keep doing that, that's why we will make a change to the fast bowling. Shafiul will bowl good areas and be consistent, that's what we need. If Shahadat has another game like his first innings, our attack will be a lot better."

Siddons admits that there is no quick fix when it comes to Bangladesh's lack of pace, a problem that stems from the country's insubstantial first-class structure. Sri Lanka is often used as the model of what can be achieved as a Test nation develops, but Bangladesh have never threatened to produce the likes of Chaminda Vaas or Lasith Malinga.

"There's no evidence of fast bowlers," added Siddons. "The two quickest in Bangladesh are Rubel and Shahadat. In our first-class conditions, the bowlers bowl three or four overs and then the spinners come on so there are no grounds for them to develop, which is really important."

Siddons has approached the Bangladesh board about searching the English leagues for hidden fast-bowling talent. "I keep asking if they are around, I'm sure they are," he said. "There have been Bangladeshis here long enough to use England for development programmes and grab a few. I haven't had any names come forward, I've pushed it at board level to get the word out there. We'd definitely look at it, if there is a fast bowler who can come back and play for us immediately."

The batting, though, is coming along nicely for Bangladesh. Many watchers were surprised by Bangladesh's performance at Lord's, but that wasn't the case for Siddons who has seen a steady improvement with the bat, but he remained frustrated that the middle-order couldn't respond.

"Our middle-order has held us together," he said. "I can't understand why they didn't bat better at Lord's although they did always come in against the new ball and in overcast conditions, against a swinging ball, which is tough for any team to make runs and survive in those conditions.

"People are still thinking about 12 months ago, we've had great Test series against India, New Zealand and England. Our batsmen have applied themselves really well. The Aftabs [Ahmed] aren't playing any more, Ashraful is trying to apply himself a a lot. Junaid [Siddique] and Imrul [Kayes] never throw their wicket away, they might play a bad shot but it's not because of rashness."

In the days between the back-to-back Tests, Bangladesh have had a few worries about Tamim Iqbal, their star batsman, who reported a problem with his chest although he is unlikely to miss the match. There is also better news about the left-hander's wrist problem which now doesn't require surgery.

"By all reports he doesn't need an operation unless it gets displaced or he can't bat with the pain, and he batted with the pain no problem in the Test match," said Siddons. "He's just got to get over it mentally. It's healing, it's got a callus around it, it's fine."

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2010, 13:48 GMT

    In The Stats It is India team...Not your so called India B team...

  • gohar on June 4, 2010, 9:13 GMT

    yes zimbabwe is definately better than this B grade indian team, and honestly zimbabwe is improving. bangladesh were beaten comprehensively by england lions and essex and luckily for bangladesh they were able to save the game against surrey. in england lions team except Cook there wasnt any other player who played the first test, essex didnt have the single player who played in first test whereas in bangladesh side most of the players went on to play first test as well...........STATS are not all favouring bangladesh i feel bangladesis shud not be playing test matches they should only play ODI and T20 instead of them ireland could be given a chance to play test match i feel they will perform better if they can bring in ed joyce as well.

  • gohar on June 4, 2010, 8:59 GMT

    @realredbaron cricket is not at all popular in ireland, but still ireland have produced some great cricketers, i agree that cricket is being played over there for centuries but same is true bangladesh , it was also the part of greater sub continent and if pakistan, india and a much smaller country like sri lanka can produce some excellent cricketers than what is the problem with bangesh cricket?? i am not at all against bangladesh team but as a member of test playing nation they should raise the level of there game, till 2002 zimbabwe was excellent in the one day and they were showing considerable improvement in test matches as well, unfortunately some of there best players left the side due to political turmoil, but they were not at all like bangladesh in early days, they showing improvemnt after evry test match they played but bangladesh can boast of nothing except few individual performances and the few scores of above 400. ireland as compare to bangla is a much more capable ODI/T20

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    Hi ZsZs

    Nice stat. I think Bangladeshi players need a good Psychiatrist...They have to believe that they can win. Of course they are coming back strongly in the game, which they couldnt do earlier. They are playing Positive cricket all along in the test.

    They have challenged India and England back at the home series.. and i do not think, these teams will ever take Bangladesh lightly again.

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2010, 6:08 GMT

    Roxap, India is beaten by zimbabwe twice comprehensively in last one week...so zimbabwe is a better team than India?

    Look at the statistics..How many years took Srilanka to win their first Test!

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2010, 3:49 GMT

    hey roxap, you are in Indian hai? You just think but don't take pain of going through the stats. Bangladesh's first test innings was 400 against India- go and check it now.

    Just don't understand why people from this particular country is always up against Bangladesh? Can't you have a bigger heart?

  • John on June 4, 2010, 3:36 GMT

    After the dismal performance by our not-so-fast bowlers in the first test, getting an extra spinner at the cost of a pacer is definitely a good option. However, Razzak is not as good as he used to be. After changing his actions in response to the ICC ban, he has not been able to take wickets regularly. He is not even economic either. In test cricket, our bowlers should aim to get a decent number of maiden overs to build some sort of pressure on the English batsmen. When they bowl it seems like there is no plan or strategy involved. Setting a fielding of 5-4 in the first session of a test speaks for itself.

  • Kazi on June 4, 2010, 2:51 GMT

    I have said it before, yes I don't think (even as a BD fan) that we deserved the test status simply because we did not have players of test potential in 2000. But ten years on I think we have found a fresh generation who look to be learning. We still do miss a fast bowler. One is not good enough and even though Shahadat was good in the first innings at Lord's he is far too inconsistent to be relied upon. We do need faster wickets to encourage our fast bowlers and also better our batting against pace bowling in fast conditions. The encouraging thing is all these players are still all really young with the captain being 23 only. Give this unit some time and they will come good as shown by the improvements of Mahmudullah, Junaid, Mushfiqur and of course Tamim and Shakib. We need a wicket-taking fast bowler to ease the pressure on Shakib a bit on the bowling side. If this group continues, I think they will be a team to reckon with in two years, but for that a fast bowler is needed.

  • Erwin on June 4, 2010, 1:12 GMT

    roxap is truly out of his mind. Ireland was whitewashed by Bangladesh in Bangladesh. Irish people are playing cricket for centuries, having been a neighbour of the English while cricket was a minor sports even some 20 years ago in Bangladesh. There were more cricketers per capita in countries like the Netherlands, UAE, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Ireland, Kenya. some 15 years ago, most people in Bangladesh would not even understand all of the cricket rules, except the budding teenagers who started playing the game passionately after they witnessed Bangladesh win ICC trophy beating Kenya in 1997. Since then the development graph is just astounding.Imagine England starting playing ice hockey now and within 10-15 years England competing with Russia and Canada in ice hockey beating those two ice-hockey giants regularly at U19 level. Now replace England with Bangladesh & change the sports to cricket and you'll have the same scenario.Giving Bangladesh test status has no negatives 4 cricket!

  • Erwin on June 4, 2010, 1:02 GMT

    roxap, your ignorance in cricketing knowledge is appalling. If you look at Zimbabwe when she received her test status, most if not all the players were white Caucasians who were descendants of British immigrants. These British expatriates had been playing cricket passionately in Africa for pretty long time. So it was no surprise that Zimbabwe was doing considerably well when it started playing test cricket. Now look at Zimbabwe now. Yes they're doing better than few years back but yet they are not as strong as they used to be.Because cricket was never a popular sports among the blacks in Zimbabwe.So no wonder they are struggling to come back to test class.Look back to Bangladesh.Even though cricket is a popular game in Bangladesh in 2010, some 20 years back, it did not even enjoy one tenth of this popularity. Cricket came into prominence only after 1997 in Bangladesh. Bangladeshis started playing serious league from 2000. Having this in mind, Bangladesh's development is outstanding.

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