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News

Donald: 'Our process with the new ball is simply to find Litton's gloves'

"We make sure that we stick to the basic plan. If I see a flaw in a batter, we will discuss it in a break"

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
26-May-2022
Bangladesh fast bowling coach Allan Donald monitors a practice session, Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka, Chattogram, May 12, 2022

Bangladesh fast bowling coach Allan Donald monitors a practice session  •  BCB

Bangladesh's fast bowling coaches have been nothing short of star quality over the years. The BCB has regularly hired the best in the business to groom their fast bowlers, such as Courtney Walsh, Ottis Gibson and Charl Langeveldt. Allan Donald, a modern great, who inspired a generation of fast bowlers in South Africa, is the latest addition to lead Bangladesh's fast bowling think-tank. But like all of his predecessors, Donald, too, is quickly finding out that the team's inexperienced fast bowlers will have more bad days than good.
The Bangladesh pacers' first innings, in Mirpur, was a mixed bag. Ebadot Hossain finished with 4 for 148, the team's most expensive four-wicket haul at home. Khaled Ahmed's figures after bowling 23 overs read 0 for 85, as his wicketless spree in the series continued. But a bowling coach will always harp on the positives, and in this innings it is likely to be the 61 overs the two pacers bowled, making them Bangladesh's first two-man fast bowling attack to bowl 50-plus overs in a home Test, since 2002.
At the end of the third day's play in Mirpur, Donald said that he was happy with some parts of his pace bowling pair, but not entirely.
"I am not an overload bloke," Donald said. "My way is to reiterate. I don't give 16 plans in one day. It is just about the simple things that we do well. Our process with the new ball is not to look for outswinger or inswinger. The process is to find Litton's gloves. That's the Test match process I grew up with, and that's how you build pressure. We make sure that we stick to the basic plan. If I see a flaw in a batter, we will discuss it in a break."
Donald is a clear speaker and has little trouble getting through to the young fast bowlers under his wing. He usually keeps a translator handy during long discussions, with team director Khaled Mahmud or media manager Rabeed Imam helping him out. The 55-year-old said that he tends to stick to simple messages so that it doesn't complicate the thinking of the bowlers ahead of or during a match.
"Ebadot and Khaled are busy learning their trade. We are constantly busy with other factors in terms of mindset and alignment. I thought today, Ebadot was fantastic. He ran in all day long. I told him after tea to ask (Mominul) for the ball nicely. He did that again, and caused problems," Donald said.
"We, in South Africa and here, have not asked enough questions with the new ball. We are working on that attitude and skill. We are maybe slightly apprehensive, whereas the Sri Lankan guys were spot on in execution."
Donald admitted that the Sri Lankan fast bowling duo of Kasun Rajitha and Asitha Fernando bowled better than his charges, but believed that Khaled and Ebadot's lack of experience means that they are at times playing catch-up with overall skills.
"I thought the Sri Lankan quicks on the first day were awesome in terms of their consistency and asking questions. They were rewarded by 24 for 5. They got the ball to swing. They hit the areas. I said that on these wickets in Bangladesh, the new ball is massive. They exploited that really well."
The fast bowling coach also rued missing the consistency of Shoriful Islam and Taskin Ahmed, who are both nursing injuries. "Shoriful, unfortunately, fractured his finger. Taskin is a great miss. He is a lovely kid. He has a serious sized engine in him. You just know he will run through a wall for you. But sometimes someone missing a game is another one's opportunity," Donald said. "Ebadot and Khaled have another opportunity to learn, and I want people to be vigilant and patient with their process. Khaled is learning all the time."
Ebadot finishing with a four-wicket haul must have pleased Donald, though the South African surely knows he has his work cut out to put the Bangladesh pace attack in order.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84