The man behind Bangladesh’s win by spin

Sunil Joshi, Bangladesh’s spin consultant, is teaching the team a few tricks to bamboozle the opposition.

A 10-wicket match haul from Shakib gave Bangladesh its first Test win over Australia.   -  AFP

Shakib al Hasan couldn’t stop rejoicing!

As David Warner walked back to the pavilion after playing a steady knock of 112 on Wednesday afternoon, Shakib was basking in glory. As his team-mates came for a huddle, the Bangladesh all-rounder was quick enough to discuss a few things with team-mate Mehidy Hasan Miraz.

Perhaps, he was giving the youngster a tip or two on how to keep the visiting side under pressure. The idea was simple: lure the batsman to go for shots, make them wait and generate late turn. As the Aussie batsmen waited longer to play the shots, the deliveries would invariably force them to go slightly on the back foot.

The end result would be their soft dismissal!

Perhaps, this is one strategy that worked wonders for Bangladesh as it won a historic Test match against the world champion Australia in Mirpur. However, for that it has a former India spin ace to thank. Sunil Joshi, who flew down to Dhaka last week as the spin consultant of the Bangladesh side, has come up with a mystery delivery which forces the opponent batsmen to get lured and lose the wicket.

Sunil Joshi is pleased to have featured in two of Bangladesh's historic moments in Tests. Photo: V. V. Subrahmanyam

 

Though Joshi is in no mood to reveal what exactly the mystery delivery is, he calls it a ‘special ball’. “I have asked the boys to stick to the basics. We are just focusing on one ball that troubled the Australian batsmen. I don’t want to name that ball, but we are focusing on only one ball that’s bothering them,” Joshi told Sportstar from Mirpur, a couple of hours after Bangladesh’s tremendous win.

‘Special ball’

The former India spinner, however, has made it clear that the host will continue frustrating the Aussies with the ‘special ball’ when the second Test gets underway in Chittagong on Monday. “It is absolutely helping the Bangladesh side. The Australian team is struggling to play one ball, and that has mentally put them down. Our boys are just trying to bowl that,” Joshi explained.

Before the series started, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) wanted to rope in Australian spinner Stuart McGill as the spin bowling coach, but with the deal falling out, the Board decided to bring in Joshi as the consultant for the series. The former spinner, however, is happy to have played a role in the side’s victory. “It’s a great victory as far as Bangladesh cricket is concerned. Beating Australia is such a great thing,” Joshi said, adding that he feels lucky to be a part of Bangladesh cricket’s two high points — the first Test against India in 2000 and Wednesday’s victory. “Fortunately I played the game for India when Bangladesh appeared for its debut Test against us, and today, also I was a part of it,” Joshi added.

"Though he is inexperienced, Taijul (right) bowled brilliantly in the second innings to give support to Shakib." Photo: AFP

 

The spin-bowling consultant, however, is excited with the way Shakib led the bowling attack from the front, grabbing ten wickets. “He (Shakib) led the bowling attack. He has been very consistent in both the innings, largely because of his experience. Tamim (Iqbal), Mushfiqur (Rahim) and Mehidy contributed equally well,” he said, adding: “Definitely Mushfiqur played a good knock in the second innings that helped us a lot. It was a brilliant captaincy by Mushfiqur.”

‘Brilliant’

The fact that young Tajiul Islam too chipped in, claiming three wickets, has pleased Joshi. “Though he is inexperienced, Taijul bowled brilliantly in the second innings to give support to Shakib. That’s really a good thing,” he said.

After a knock of 84 in the first innings, Shakib could only manage five runs in the second innings, but he ensured that the team wasn’t in trouble by shining with the ball. What makes Shakib such a dangerous bowler in the sub-continent wickets?

“He understands the game very well. He understands how to perform under different conditions. That’s the sign of a good player,” is how Joshi defined the Bangladesh all-rounder.

‘New beginning’

Joshi, who coached Assam in the Ranji Trophy last season, feels this victory will help Bangladesh do better in Test cricket. “They (Bangladesh) have already beaten Australia in ODIs, but this win will mark a new beginning for Bangladesh and its players in the Test arena,” Joshi said.

With the Australians already caught in a spin web, the host side will be hoping to tighten the noose. Mirpur won, is it time for Bangladesh to leave Aussies dazed in Chittagong?