Taijul Islam's (third from right) figures of eight for 39 are the best for a Bangladeshi bowler © AFP
Taijul Islam’s (third from right) figures of eight for 39 are the best for a Bangladeshi bowler © AFP

Taijul Islam entered the record books when he recorded the best ever figures by a Bangladeshi in Tests when he snared eight Zimbabwean wickets for just 39 runs in the first Test at Dhaka. Given that Taijul was playing in only his third Test, his effort was all the more commendable. Shiamak Unwalla looks at what this could mean for Bangladesh and Taijul.

Taijul Islam has had quite a remarkable time in Test cricket in the few matches he has played. His debut innings saw him capture five for 135 against West Indies at Kingstown. His next match saw him take just three wickets, but he grabbed eight more against Zimbabwe in only his sixth Test innings.

Taijul is one of several left-arm spinners that have come through the ranks of the Bangladesh side. Given below are the leading left-arm spinning wicket-takers for Bangladesh in Tests:

Name

Period

M

Wickets

Ave

SR

5-fors

10-fors

Shakib-al-Hasan

2007-2014

35

129

32.37

65.8

12

0

Mohammad Rafique

2000-2008

33

100

40.76

87.4

7

0

Enamul Haque Jr

2003-2013

15

44

40.61

80.6

3

1

Abdur Razzak

2006-2014

12

23

67.39

122.4

0

0

Enamul Haque

2001-2003

10

18

57.05

123.8

0

0

Taijul Islam

2014-2014

3

17

22.94

45.1

2

0

Elias Sunny

2011-2013

4

12

43.16

71.9

1

0

Expectedly, Shakib-al-Hasan leads the ranks with 129 wickets at a decent average and reasonable strike rate. However, Taijul’s figures are quite impressive as well. Given that he has played just three Tests, it would be unwise to look too deeply into these figures, but an average of under 25 and a strike rate of just over 45 makes for some very encouraging numbers.

Given that Bangladesh don’t play a lot of Test cricket, they have had a remarkably high number of spinners to have played Test cricket. What stands out though, is the high percentage of left-arm spinners in the mix. Below is the list of every Bangladeshi spinner with 10 wickets or more in Tests:

Player

Type

Period

M

Wickets

Ave

SR

5-fors

10-fors

Shakib-al-Hasan

Left-arm

2007-2014

35

129

32.37

65.8

12

0

Mohammad Rafique

Left-arm

2000-2008

33

100

40.76

87.4

7

0

Enamul Haque Jr

Left-arm

2003-2013

15

44

40.61

80.6

3

1

Sohag Gazi

Right-arm

2012-2014

10

38

42.07

82.9

2

0

Mahmudullah

Right-arm

2009-2014

21

34

46.97

83

1

0

Abdur Razzak

Left-arm

2006-2014

12

23

67.39

122

0

0

Mohammad Ashraful

Right-arm

2001-2013

61

21

60.52

82.5

0

0

Enamul Haque

Left-arm

2001-2003

10

18

57.05

124

0

0

Taijul Islam

Left-arm

2014-2014

3

17

22.94

45.1

2

0

Elias Sunny

Left-arm

2011-2013

4

12

43.16

71.9

1

0

Naimur Rahman

Right-arm

2000-2002

8

12

59.83

110

1

0

As seen above, of the 11 Bangladeshi spinners to have taken more than 10 Test wickets, only four have been right-handers. Even there, Mohammad Ashraful is only a part-timer, and Mahmudullah is an all-rounder, while Naimur Rahman — Bangladesh’s first Test captain — took six of his 12 wickets in one innings.

Taijul has had a dream start to his Test career. Against Zimbabwe, he repeatedly had the batsmen in trouble edging to slip or ‘keeper. His dismissals were mostly the type that one would expect from a classic left-arm spinner; drawing the batsmen forward and foxing them with just enough deviation to kiss the edge.

Bangladesh will be thrilled at the prospect of a shared workload for Shakib and the rate at which Taijul is going. If he can keep this up, there is a good chance he will end his career as one of Bangladesh’s leading wicket-takers. The signs are good for Bangladesh; their reservoir of left-arm spinners continues to reward them.

Complete coverage of the Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic. You can follow him on Twitter @ShiamakUnwalla)