Bangladesh cricket is now blessed with two outstanding pace bowlers.
One with near express pace who can bowl deadly yorkers and tease batsmen
by bowling at a probing line on that off-stump corridor, while the
other possesses lethal cutters.
Both of them are meant to serve their captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza
when he is in need of wickets. Aggression is the motto of the duo. But
approach them and they will take you to two extreme points -- one
extremely enterprising and the other extremely mundane.
For example, ask right-arm pace bowler Taskin Ahmed how painful it
was for him to sit out the two games against India and Australia due to
suspension and he will get sentimental.
"They were some of the toughest days in my life," Taskin will tell you.
Ask left-arm pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman how painful it was for him
to watch Bangladesh's opening Super Ten game against Pakistan, which he
missed due to injury and he will tell you in three words: "It felt
bad". And you will be amazed to learn that that soft voice has little or
no lift in it. Mustafizur keep on talking that way despite the best
efforts to get a livelier response.
Ask him how he enjoyed his World Cup debut and which of the two
wickets (Steve Smith and Mitch Marsh) satisfied him most and he will say
'both were good' and that he could hardly find any difference between
playing in a World Cup and an international match at home. Ask him what
went through his mind when he was running for that single against India,
his answer will be "what should I say?"
After a 15 minute struggle, this reporter had to give up the fight to
engage a young pace bowler, who only a few years back, hid his face in
his mother's lap whenever a relative visited his home.
A few days ago Bangladesh bowling coach Heath Streak said: "I'm
teaching him English and he is teaching me Bangla." So, the learning
process is going on. But nobody will mind a non-responsive Mustafizur as
long as he is doing all the talking with the ball.
Taskin however is somebody you will love to talk with. He may be a
bit emotional like his mentor Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, but when he talks he
is assertive. Someone who believes that he doesn't need to read about
the legends of the world to overcome adversities, he will tell you: "I
have got someone in our team as good as a legend."
He told reporters before attending the bowling test in Chennai that
he was going there to do something he was supposed to do with his team
in training. And the night before he left for Dhaka he repeated the same
"I will take the next correction test the same way I did last time. I
have bowled some 43 deliveries and those machines might have found
something which was not correct. But that test made me mentally stronger
and I feel that I will be a better bowler when I return,” Taskin told
this reporter the night before his departure for Dhaka.
His last act was even more stunning.
“I was feeling bad for what had happened with me. But to be honest
that pain is nothing compared to what I'm going through after our defeat