It’s better late than never.
Bangladesh left-arm spinner Taijul Islam must be relieved that he’s finally bowling to his strengths.
It wasn’t long ago that he decided to tweak his action in order to become an all-format bowler. Daniel Vettori, who was in-charge of Bangladesh's spin unit earlier, believed that adding topspin will help Taijul earn success in white-ball cricket, and so the spinner started bowling with a more side-on action and used a higher non-bowling arm. While the changes fetched him an all-format contract, it cost Taijul a bit in the longer format. He looked far less impactful without the arm ball.
After a long discussion with his coach Sohel Islam, who is acting as the interim spin coach in the ongoing two-match Test series against Pakistan, Taijul decided to return to his old bowling action ahead of the home series against West Indies in February, reports agency.
“There’s a lot of talk regarding his change of action but what I feel is that he was brave enough to take a chance. I always like cricketers with such a mindset because unless you are brave enough to take chances you won't go far,” said Sohel.
“The old action was there with him and so he just tried to see whether the new action brings something for him or not, and it just didn't work but that hardly is a big issue. Now he is bowling in a good rhythm and the best part is that he has held onto his patience. We have been working for a couple of months on how to bowl on flat wickets where variations and flight are important and he just executed the plan well.”
Taijul seemed to reap the benefits as he picked 12 wickets in the two-match Test series against West Indies while grabbing eight wickets in the following two Tests played against Sri Lanka, although he failed to make the cut in the lone Test against Zimbabwe when the selectors looked to pick a fast-bowling heavy attack.
The rejection seemed to have worked wonders for Taijul who was determined to make a noteworthy comeback on the back of all the hard work he'd put in at BCB's indoor academy premises, bowling over after over against Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim.
Taijul managed to showcase his improvement on the third day of the ongoing first Test against Pakistan, picking up 7-114, his second best Test bowling figures.
Taijul set the tone early in the day when he dismissed Abdullah Shafique, doing so with a ball that skid through to break the 146-run opening partnership. Azhar Ali was taken out with the following delivery and it was a classic example of orthodox left-arm spin: drifting in with the angle as the ball pitched on leg and then straightened to strike the back-pad low.
Taijul never looked back since those two wickets and began to dictate terms as Pakistan found him too hot to handle. The left-arm spinner's use of crease was exemplary and he kept mixing up his deliveries to keep the batsmen guessing, something he wasn’t able to do without the arm ball in his repertoire.
“I don’t think that changing action is a big issue because nowhere it’s written that someone cannot change his action. And Sohel bhai worked with me from a very early stage and when I wanted to get back to my old action he just did not have any issues as he knows me inside out.”