When Shadman Islam dropped Ross Taylor at second slip on the fourth day of the Wellington Test, Abu Jayed took a look at what had happened, and just turned around and walked back to his run-up. His expression was deadpan, bar a slight raising of an eyebrow.

He had already seen captain Mahmudullah drop one at cover earlier in the over, bowled two fine deliveries outside Taylor's off stump after that, and then seen another one go down.

Jayed finished the over by nearly getting Taylor to inside-edge one on to his stumps. He took the cap from the umpire and walked back to his fielding position in the deep. He hid his disappointment well.


The 25-year-old paceman, who picked up two wickets early on to leave New Zealand at 8 for 2 on his way to returns of 3 for 94, should play the third Test in Christchurch, and if he does get a decent haul of wickets, may even be an outside chance of making the World Cup squad.

Mashrafe Mortaza, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman and Mohammad Saifuddin are pretty much assured of being in the pace contingent, while Taskin Ahmed, after getting fit, is a prime candidate too.

How does Jayed edge his way past the others then?

After the New Zealand series, he has to go back to domestic cricket, where he is the leading wicket-taker among pace bowlers in the last decade. On mostly slow and low pitches, Sylhet Division and East Zone are likely to use him sparingly in the two first-class competitions, and it's unlikely he will always bowl his quota of overs in the shorter formats.

So, if he - as well as Ebadot Hossain, Khaled Ahmed and Mustafizur - does take anything back home in terms of experience from New Zealand, Jayed has to put it all in a bottle and store it away. It won't come in handy any time soon, because Bangladesh's next Test in not-familiar conditions is scheduled for Ireland in June 2020. Before that, they tour India and Pakistan, in the UAE - no greentops expected there.

The next tour of New Zealand is not till February 2021, but that will be a limited-overs series. If they don't do enough in ODIs and T20Is by then, it's hard to imagine that any of them will remain in contention for the Zimbabwe tour in June 2021 or for the December 2021 New Zealand tour, which has two Tests.

Jayed & Co. could realistically look ahead to the period between March and July in 2022, when Bangladesh are scheduled to play Tests in South Africa, the West Indies and Zimbabwe. But looking at the frequency with which the team management loses patience with pace bowlers, it will be a major achievement if even one of the current lot of youngsters survive till then.


The focus for Bangladesh has been to win at home, and priority has been given to spinners. It is a logical move to give maximum advantage to their big strength, but it has left many pacers in the lurch.

On the fourth day in Wellington, therefore, Jayed, Mustafizur and Ebadot were only expected to go through the motions. Jayed did more than that in his first spell, which asked plenty of questions of Taylor and an injured Kane Williamson. But, apart from that, and a couple of edges that went past the slips off Mustafizur, there wasn't much more to write home about.

Tamim Iqbal, who mostly stood at mid-on when the three pacers were operating, said after the day's play that they had bowled well in patches but it was harsh to expect anything more from them at such an early stage of their careers.

"They were on and off," Tamim said. "They bowled extremely well for a few overs, and then there were overs when they didn't do what they had to do. But it comes through experience. We have to remember that these three are very new. We are playing against two bowlers [Tim Southee and Trent Boult] who have nearly 250 wickets each. I would hope that they can learn from this experience."

Tamim felt that the period in which Taylor was dropped twice was also the time that Jayed and Ebadot were bowling at their best. "It was sad that we dropped catches of someone twice in the same over, who went to hit a double-hundred. If we got him out at that point, and the way our bowlers were during that spell, we probably would have batted less today."


Jayed was off-colour in Hamilton where Ebadot perhaps bowled better. Khaled can consider himself unlucky to be dropped after the first Test, but would he have bowled better than Mustafizur?

If the BCB stick to these four bowlers for at least the next two seasons, then there's a chance of a decent fast-bowling attack taking shape. Jayed has become a domestic mainstay among pace bowlers. Khaled and Ebadot, playing for the same divisional team, have also impressed in the 2018-19 season. Mustafizur is a short-format star, but in four years of international cricket, this was only his third Test outside the sub-continent.

They have to make best use of what they get in New Zealand. Once they are done here, it might be a long wait before they get a chance to show off their wares again, in conditions that make them look good and give them a fair chance.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84