Taijul Islam hopeful of rebooting white-ball career

Despite playing 19 Tests, Taijul Islam has not able to push his game for the shorter formats.

Bangladesh left-arm spinner Taijul Islam is relishing the prospect of trying his luck in the shortest format as he prepares to join the Bangladesh A team for the Twenty20 series against Ireland. Taijul, who has represented the national team in 19 Tests, is yet to play T20 internationals and seemed surprised by the unexpected call-up by the national selectors to join the A team in Dublin.

“I was hugely surprised,” Taijul told Cricbuzz on Wednesday. It is big platform for me to prove myself in the shortest format and I am looking forward to the challenge,” he says.

The 26-year-old has remained grounded despite his smashing entry into international cricket and has always shied away from the spotlight. In a country where left-arm spinners playing white-ball cricket get sucked into bowling diagonally into the legs to stop the run flow, Taijul has remained traditional in his approach. He tries to draw the batsman forward regularly with his loop and flight and beat them with his turn.

Taijul received his first call up to the first-class National Cricket League for Rajshahi in 2011 and hogged the spotlight with a bag full of wickets in the 2013-14 season and made it to the Test team in West Indies in the same year. However it did not take long for him to grab the attention as he recorded the best innings figures by a Bangladesh bowler in just his third game, taking 8 for 39 in the Mirpur Test against Zimbabwe.

After missing four matches, when he finally made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe, he immediately wrote himself into the record books as he became the first cricketer to bag a hat-trick on ODI debut. A regular place in the white-ball teams, however, has eluded him and his early heroics fetched him just three further ODI appearances.

“It is true that I failed to make an impression in the shorter format but I always had the confidence on me and work so that if someday there is an opportunity I can grab it,” he says. “I don’t believe that you have to change your bowling approach totally in limited over versions, it is only about changing your pace and adding a bit more variations.

“I am more concerned about bowling in the right areas because it eventually pays off in any kind of format. I only concentrate on my bowling and the role I am given by the team management because you need to understand the purpose totally. If I can contain, obviously the pressure will mount and batsmen will go after my partner and chances are high he will pick few wickets but that does not imply I failed to fulfill my responsibility,” he added

In what should come as a double whammy for Taijul, Chief selector Minhajul Abedin told Cricbuzz that the left-arm spinner was very much in the plan of action for other formats apart from Test and that the selectors were looking forward to see how he performs in Ireland.

“We want to see how he respond in T20 format because we are looking for a suitable partner for Shakib who can put pressure on the opponent from the other end.”