Al-Amin focused on staying 'proactive' after ODI success
Bangladesh's batting woes in the West Indies mean fast bowler Al-Amin Hossain has remained out of the spotlight, despite being the highest wicket-taker in the ODI series from both sides. He'll he hoping to catch the attention at least in the solitary Twenty20 on Wednesday.
He took ten wickets in the three matches against West Indies, including two four-wicket hauls, with early spells that must be heartening for a Bangladesh team management desperate to find a strong performer. Mashrafe Mortaza has been steady and bowled better with the old ball but Taskin Ahmed gave too many in the first game while the spinners and the batsmen were mostly clueless.
Things were different for Al-Amin before this tour, though, as he sought to end a wicket shortage. Since his debut late last year, he had often bowled lengthy spells which had momentary sparks and the odd close calls, but he could never sustain the pressure. He has also suffered days when luck wasn't on his side.
Before the series, he had taken just six wickets in nine ODIs, but his tenacity possibly made him an automatic choice for the West Indies series. Now, things are starting to look up for him. "I would say that my fortune has changed just a bit," Al-Amin said. "I wasn't getting the wickets before this series but now I have bowled better and got the wickets. It was always important to plan well, and without that it was impossible to be successful at this level.
"I will have to remain proactive, and think on my feet. Very few times does a batsman give a chance, but that increases in T20s because of the nature of the game. I enjoy playing in this format and, provided I play, I would look to carry over my ODI form to the T20."
Al-Amin's T20 performance is unique among Bangladesh bowlers. Without too much flash, he dries up the runs with the new ball and later uses changes of pace to good effect. His best figures in T20 internationals came against West Indies earlier this year, where he picked up 3 for 21.
Late last year, he also had one of those T20s that bowlers dream of. He became the first bowler to take five wickets in one over in T20 cricket.
He will be facing a much sterner test at Warner Park, much like in the third and final ODI. His second four-for came in that match but apart from his first wicket, the rest came much later in the match, after Denesh Ramdin and Darren Bravo had massacared the Bangladesh bowlers. He admitted that game was particularly challenging.
"I really enjoyed taking Chris Gayle's wicket [in the third game], and the first three I picked up in the first ODI. The margin of error was very small in the third ODI. A bowler was getting smashed if he missed a yorker by a few inches or the slower ball wasn't landing in the right place. They were hitting sixes off good and bad balls, and the straight boundary was quite short."
On Wednesday, Al-Amin will have to deal with the short boundary again and, given that he has been one of Bangladesh's few performers on this tour so far, he may have to deal with an extra bit of the spotlight too.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84