Bangladesh’s ability to bowl under pressure was put to the test in a rain-shortened first T20I against Ireland, and Taskin Ahmed helped them come through with flying colours. The visitors had raced to 32 for 0 in less than three overs. The target – 104 from eight – was well within range. And then suddenly it wasnt, because Taskin had come on in the fourth over, picked up three wickets in five deliveries and pretty much ended the game. He removed Lorcan Tucker first ball with a yorker, then went through the dangerous Paul Stirling as well and finally had George Dockrell caught at third man. He also took Harry Tector’s wicket in the final over to finish with career-best figures of 2-0-16-4.
“They needed 104 runs from eight overs in favourable conditions and the ball was coming on to the bat,” Taskin said at the post-match press conference after Bangladesh took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. “It was slightly wet out there too. But we didn’t relax till the last over. We stuck to the process. We focused on the execution, whatever the situation demanded. It is our responsibility to adjust to the wicket. We are assessing the conditions and adjusting ourselves to the behaviour of the wicket. It is part of the learning process. If we can execute properly, we can bowl better.”
Taskin also observed that the more Bangladesh play on batting-friendly conditions, the better it will be for the fast bowlers. “Major events are played on sporting pitches so we should play all levels on these conditions. It favours both batters and bowlers. It will challenge the bowlers in batting-friendly conditions but there will be improvement too. More we play on good wickets, we will be more confident. We won the last two series playing in better wickets, so this is a good motivation.
“Accuracy has to be 100% on good wickets otherwise there’s a chance of leaking boundaries. So on better wickets, the bowler will be more focused on perfect execution. It will definitely lead to improvement.”
Taskin reiterated Bangladesh’s desire to be one of the best fast bowling groups in the world. “If we can all become world-class bowlers, it will be tough for the opponents to handle us,” he said. “Big teams have four or five world-class fast bowlers. We want the same thing. We are treating it like a family, the bowling unit, and helping each other in the last two and a half years.
“We are improving but we are still to reach the next level but I believe we are in the right track. We have a great mindset so we can reach the goal of becoming a world-class attack.”
Taskin said that all-round support from the team-mates and team management is helping Bangladesh evolve into a more aggressive team. “Fear of failure holds you back. We want to play free cricket. Everyone is supporting each other, starting from the very top of the team management. They tell us not to hesitate when executing our skills. They want us to play our game freely, bring our A-game. Play aggressive cricket.”