The lack of leg-spinners in the country’s cricket establishment has frequently been emphasized, particularly when a major T20I or ODI event comes calling. Despite the desire of national team coaches and team management, the cricketing world has rarely placed faith in leg spin, or wrist spin in general, relegating a vital game-deciding component to a corner.
However, two recent performances have once again brought the leg-spinners’ dilemma to light.
Rishad Hossain, 21, shined with both bat and ball in Bangladesh’s tour match against New Zealand XI yesterday in Christchurch. The leg-spinner had been on the outskirts of the national team since being called up for the Ireland T20Is at home. Nonetheless, the prospects were limited, as expected.
Rishad hammered a 54-ball 87 and took three wickets, but given that it was a warm-up match, the team management may still be hesitant to use him in important contests.
Another youthful leg-spinner in the U-19 team made his presence known the day before. Wasi Siddiquee, 17, took three wickets to help his team defeat their Sri Lankan opponents in an ACC U-19s Asia Cup match in Dubai.
Cricket expert and mentor to numerous national team players Nazmul Abedeen Fahim praised Wasi as “promising,” but believes “the team doesn’t yet have a lot of trust in him.”
“He didn’t play in the first two games… “Perhaps he was played because the team had already guaranteed qualification to the next round,” Fahim said on social media.
Leg-spinners are rarely used in the playing eleven, from regional and divisional teams to major events like the Dhaka Premier League (DPL) or the Bangladesh Premier League.
Rishad appeared in just two DPL games with his team, Abahani Limited. Summerset wrist-spinner Jake Lintott took the most wickets for Mohammedan Sporting in that competition.
Domestic cricket may have a demand for wrist spinners, but there aren’t enough quality domestic spinners to fill such teams. Jubair Hossain Likhon and Aminul Islam Biplob had frequent call-ups to the national team but were unable to maintain their place.
Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha is a firm believer in bringing in wrist spinners, telling this newspaper that he has been attempting to do so from his first spell.
Rishad had been carried in order for him to be groomed, similar to placing someone in an incubator and developing them independently. It remains to be seen how far Rishad can progress while remaining on the outskirts.
Speaking with coaches from DPL teams, most agreed that leg-spinners are not trusted because of poor accuracy and handing up too many runs. That, however, is the art of leg-spin. They chase wickets rather than scores.
Finger spinners, on the other hand, keep things tight and are encouraged by dull pitches that produce low bounce, which encourages a preference for finger spinners.
“Perhaps we create impediments for our leg-spinners to develop their identities.” We cause them pain by attempting to impose our ideals on them. “It’s amazing that a country with so many people doesn’t have a leg-spinner.” Fahim had mentioned Wasi in that post.
The issue is that the country’s cricket organization does not provide any developmental phases to groom leg-spinners. The scarcity is caused by a lack of courage, as well as a culture that places more emphasis on restricting runs and playing things safe in general.