Ever since former Zimbabwe international Heath Streak joined Bangladesh last year, the whipping boys of the sub-continent turned a new leaf. The focus shifted to pace and results came tumbling. Bangladesh got the better of South Africa 2-1, India 2-1 and Pakistan 2-0. In the recently concluded Asia Cup also, the pacers were on the forefront as Bangladesh accounted for Pakistan, Sri Lanka and UAE but went down twice to eventual winners India.
With Mashrafe Mortaza, Mustafizur Rahman and Taskin Ahmed forming the core, the bench strength boasts of Abu Hider and Al-Amin Hossain with Streak being the major catalyst for the change.
“When I started in 2015, we knew that to be competitive in Australia during the 2015 World Cup we needed to have a good pace attack. That was the real catalyst and pacers also responded well. They have done what has been asked of them. They had the talent and it was all about getting them to believe. It also has to do with the conditions we have played in. we have made an effort to move away from turning wickets to make it encouraging for the pacers,” the former pacer said.
Streak is not new to sub-continental conditions, having played four Tests and 19 ODIs in India, and his inputs will be valuable if Bangladesh are to qualify for the Super 10. With Pakistan and India waiting for them in Super 10 and unresponsive flats wickets, Streak said his team has a chance and is prepared.
“It’s just that the margin of errors are less. You have to be accurate and mentally quite strong. The players hit good balls for four these days. You need to stick to what you’re good at. I think you need to believe in your ability. If the wickets are slower, we use variations and use pace and shorter balls if it is like a surface like Bangalore. But that is part of the planning. In India, it is good for batting and outfields are quick and it is for bowlers to adapt,” he said.
As Bangladesh prepare to take on 2016 World T20’s surprise package Oman in a must-win match, Streak could have done without the headache of having his main strike bowler Taskin Ahmed, along with spinner Arafat Sunny, being reported for suspect action. With left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman still injured, Streak said he is confident that this will not upset Bangladesh’s plan.
“He (Taskin) is disappointed but both he and I are confident that he will be cleared. I have reviewed the footage from when I started up to now and there is no change in his action. I am sure he will be tested, cleared and hopefully this thing will be put to rest,” said Streak.