Covid frustrates Taijul, Nayeem

Staff Correspondent | Published: 22:12, May 21,2020


Taijul Islam and Nayeem Hasan

The postponement of multiple Test series’ due to the COVID-19 situation have hit Bangladesh spinners Taijul Islam and Nayeem Hasan hard, with the duo missing out from crucial international action and fearing great loss in their respective careers.

Taijul and Nayeem have been a regular feature in Bangladesh’s Test set-up in recent times with the former donning the senior spinner’s role in the five-day game in the absence of Sakib al Hasan while Nayeem was slowly becoming a strong contender for a regular place in the Test team.

From April to next year’s January, Bangladesh was scheduled to play 11 Test matches as part of ICC Test championship, seven at home, one in Pakistan and three in Sri Lanka.

The spin duo were expected to bear the brunt of the bowling load in those Tests for the Tigers and had an opportunity to shine in spin friendly sub-continent pitches but the pandemic has robbed them of that chance.

Sri Lanka’s interest to go through with the July’s Bangladesh series had raised some hopes but the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s insistence to focus more on ICC events squandered it.

Taijul, who is at the mid-point of his cricketing career, was disheartened to lose out this important period of his career.

‘I have played only 29 Test matches so far. I was really eager to play some more matches so that I can end up with a good statistics. Wheel of time goes forward, not backward. I will age; my fitness level will drop, so gradually performance will also fall,’ Taijul told New Age from Natore.

‘May be the matches which are postponed due to pandemic situation will be drafted into the schedule in future, but I don’t know if at that time I will be fit to play or will my performance take me into the team or not,’ he added.

Being branded as `Test Specialist’, Taijul is not highly sought after in cash rich tournaments like Bangladesh Premier League or Dhaka Premier League, nor does he has any big commercial endorsement.

The left-arm spinner earns a big chunk of his income from playing in the national side, which he is missing out from.

‘This year match fee was increased to Tk six lakh for Test matches. If I could play all the matches, that would have meant Tk 66 lakh, which is a big amount for me,’ said Taijul.

On the other hand, Nayeem, who is yet to celebrate his 20th birthday, was disappointed for not being able to carry on his golden run with the ball due to the forced stoppage caused by the pandemic.

‘I was in a very good flow. In last three matches [one Test and two Bangladesh Cricket League matches] I took 30 wickets. My fitness was also good. But corona put a sudden break on that run,’ Nayeem said.

But he was not too anxious about his future and saw this break as an opportunity to be better prepared.

‘Allah does everything for the greater good. I am not feeling very good by passing idle times but it could be an opportunity for better preparation. I think every player will lose a year from their playing lives,’ he said.

In these lock-down days, Nayeem was trying to practice some skills showed by national team’s spin bowling consultant Daniel Vettori and was very eager to return to the field.

‘After Eid, if BCB can resume the league with proper health measures it will be a great help because we are losing match fitness. After a big break, first match is always difficult, even after hard training.’

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