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Ban vs SL, 1st ODI – Tanzim seizes spotlight as latest star of Bangladesh’s pace revolution

Bangladesh’s fast bowling once again stepped up in a match-winning effort, with Tanzim Hasan Sakib becoming the latest source of their joy. The 21-year old snatched the momentum from a dominant Sri Lanka in the first ODI, taking three wickets in his first spell after the visiting openers got off to a rapid start in Chattogram.
Tanzim removed Pathum Nissanka, Avishka Fernando and Sadeera Samarawickrama in successive overs, to reduce them to 84 for 3. Sri Lanka couldn’t recover from that cluster of early wickets, with Shoriful Islam and Taskin Ahmed each going on to match Tanzim in picking up three-fors. It was only the third time in Bangladesh’s history that the fast bowlers totaled nine or more wickets in an ODI innings. It is no surprise that all three instances are from the last 12 months, a period considered to be Bangladesh’s pace revolution.

Taskin and Shoriful made impressive comebacks in the match after getting a bit of tap in their first spells. Taskin is considered the natural leader of this fast-bowling group, identified first by Ottis Gibson when he was the bowling coach. Later Allan Donald, too, regarded him as the best of the lot. Shoriful has also come of age, particularly after he was briefly dropped last year.

They are more established than Tanzim, who was playing in his sixth ODI. On top of that, he was replacing Mustafizur Rahman, the most established fast bowler among the current lot but whose form took a dip during the BPL and in the T20Is against Sri Lanka. Tanzim had, however, taken three wickets in Bangladesh’s previous ODI, in New Zealand, when the visitors won by a big margin. It was their first win in New Zealand soil, too.

Mushfiqur Rahim, who took two of the catches off Tanzim’s bowling in his first spell, observed a disciplined young fast bowler, someone he feels has already fitted himself into Bangladesh’s team environment.

“Sakib’s desire and work ethic is right up there among the fast bowlers,” Mushfiqur said. “I am not talking about the outcome, but he maintains his diet and fitness very well. He bowls with a lion heart. He doesn’t look for wickets. He tries to bowl in the right areas. He has the aggression and determination. It is a huge plus for any team when a young player has this attitude. When you come with a good habit into this environment, you don’t have to teach him. He will inspire others.”

This attitude is exactly what the rest of the fast bowling group has brought about in the last three years. Taskin’s comeback story has inspired many in Bangladesh, but it has also brought much-needed discipline and performance among fast bowlers. Previous bowling coach Donald oversaw huge changes in attitude and fitness within the group. It yielded results in the form of their maiden ODI series win in South Africa in 2022.

Tanzim is a fast-tracked graduate from Bangladesh’s trophy-winning 2020 Under-19 World Cup campaign, where Shoriful was his team-mate. His foundations are supposedly strong also because he is from Sylhet, regarded as Bangladesh’s new pace-bowling hotbed. Ebadot Hossain, Abu Jayed, Khaled Ahmed and Rejaur Rahman Raja are also from Sylhet.

But Tanzim will have to adjust to the new reality that he won’t play regularly. Such are the fast-bowling stocks and the team management’s plan for home Tests, that he is unlikely to be a first-choice in the Test series against Sri Lanka coming up later this month. It could stunt his growth somewhat but, like his fast-bowling colleagues, Tanzim will hope to keep his discipline and performance intact for the T20 World Cup coming up later in the year.

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