DHAKA: In the recently concluded U19 World Cup, Bangladesh created history after winning its first-ever ICC tournament. Following the win, Bangladesh bowling coach was all praise for the boys.
From bowling on South Africa-like fast and bouncy pitches at home to fighting above-sea level challenges where players struggled to breathe while bowling, it was their mental strength and lack of fear that helped Bangladesh win the U-19 World Cup, says bowling coach Mahmood Ali.
The likes of Shoriful Islam bowled with vigour in the final against India, picking up two wickets and leaking just 31 runs as Avishek Das snared three wickets. Tanzim Hasan Sakib also picked up two wickets while left-arm spinner Rakibul Hasan gave away just 29 runs in his 10 overs, taking one wicket.
Bangladesh bowlers were excellent throughout the tournament and only got better as they advanced.
"Our boys had no fear, that is the biggest reason (for their World Cup win)," Ali was quoted as saying by leading Bangladesh daily 'Prothom Alo' in an interview.
"They all were mentally very strong. They adapted well to South African conditions which is not easy. Some of the places like Potchefstroom and Johannesburg are way above sea level. Our bowlers used to struggle to breathe. They really worked very hard to acclimatise. Also, England and New Zealand tours helped them a lot," he said.
Bangladesh prepared diligently for the World Cup and Ali said they even looked for South African-esque pitches at home to prepare better besides touring New Zealand, England which helped also.
"We knew South African wickets will have grass and will be bouncy. So we looked for similar wickets at home and worked on it. Of course, we can't get exact South African wickets in Bangladesh but we tried and in places like Khulna, Chittagong, Cox's Bazar wickets are somewhat bouncy. We had our camps in those places. Besides this, I also made the bowlers bowl with old and new balls keeping match situations in place."
Asked what his focus was, the coach said he wanted them to clock good pace. "I focussed on their pace first and then line and length. I saw our pacers clock from 120-122 kph to 125-126kph during practice. During the World Cup, they even clocked 135kph. You need pace to succeed in those wickets. My aim is to make them bowl at 140kph-plus speed. Besides this, I have worked on their back of length deliveries.
"We went to places like New Zealand, England and Sri Lanka to play and there I tried to work on the boys' skills a lot more. These small things helped us a lot."
He said Bangladesh bowlers' strength is death bowling and that was used to good effect during the World Cup.
"Our pacers' strength is death bowling. They can bowl very good yorkers at the death. At nets, all our players used to bowl. I told them, you cannot do only one thing. At this level, you cannot tell who has what (skill) and I told them to be all-rounders. Shamin Hossain is an example," he pointed.