Saturday, May 15, 2021
Updated: Saturday, April 14, 2007
Ray of Light: Slow left arm army; suffocation Bangladesh style

Khondaker Mirazur Rahman
Mohammad Rafique © CricInfo

Bangladesh is suffocating teams in the middle with an army that world cricket had never seen before. And against all odds they are reigning in a style no one expected before. The smothering influence of Mohammad Rafique, Abdur Razzak and Sakib Al Hasan is provoking batsmen one after another leading to their untimely demise. The tangle of the web weaved by this slow left arm (SLA) army finds helpless batsmen groping for air during the crucial middle overs. This spin trio has given Bangladesh the strength to sneer at the rankings and outshine oppositions under the most difficult of conditions.

They shared twelve wickets among themselves in 59.4 overs giving away only 213 runs in Bangladesh's recent triumphs over India and South Africa. And this statistic only reveals a minute part of the influence they are exerting in every game. When the spin-trio is firing on all cylinders, they easily establish astounding domination over any opposition and tie them up in the middle.

SLA bowling is one of the most difficult arts of bowling, and world cricket has not seen many SLA bowlers over the years. When the art is dying in other parts of cricketing world, Bangladesh is becoming the breeding ground of world class SLA bowlers.

Playing three bowlers with the same bowling style might look fanciful and a dim witted decision, but that is not the case when anyone thinks about the SLA army from Bangladesh. They might share the same bowling style but each of them is unique in their way of hunting. Mohammad Rafique, Abdur Razzak and Sakib Al Hasan, the three men army, have their uncanny abilities to confine the batsman with their line, loop, length and variety to impose an asphyxiating feeling. Most batsmen cannot tolerate the suffocation and eventually decease when they try to break the shackle.

Abdur Razzak © CricInfo

Wicket type, bowling first or second, or quality of opposition - nothing can dent the venoms of the snarling darts of the SLA army, as they are always keen to take the fight to the opposition. Enter Mohammad Rafique, he will tie up the batsmen with his accurate rhythmical bowling, flatter trajectories and unbelievably effective armers to fool the batsmen. He uses all his experience to read the mind of the batsman and forces him to make errors. Rafique, a keen learner at the age of 37, is getting better and greener with every single match. He has set outstanding examples and high standards for the young stars around the world with his hard work and dedication.

Enter Abdur Razzak, the most versatile of the three, he will fox the batsman with his variation in flight, change of pace and ever tidy line. He possesses the lethal arm ball to flummox even the best batsman of the world like the one he used to remove Sachin Tendulkar against India in World Cup 2007. Razzak is making his presence felt within two years of arrival in international scenario and is undoubtedly one of the best One Day Internationals (ODI) bowlers with his resourceful armory and breathtaking clobbers.

Sakib Al Hasan © CricInfo

Enter Sakib Al Hasan, he will mix his youthful verve with unprecedented maturity to bamboozle the batsman regardless of experience. He uses his crease so beautifully to throw the venom that even the best spinner of the world will be delighted to have that ability.

It is such a unique blend of experience, courage, and youthful vim that cannot be matched by any other bowling combinations of current cricket. They complement each other and impose a synergistic effect on their collective performance to bring out the best for Bangladesh.

The world has seen great fast bowlers hunting in pairs like Wasim-Waqar and Walsh-Ambrose combination. It has also seen attacking bowlers like Muralitharan and Warne. Now, for the first time the world is witnessing the hunting of a spin army who strangulate the opposition and offers no mercy. This is a unique addition to cricket world and is the pivotal factor behind the emergence of Bangladesh as the “giant killer” of cricket world.