Taskin Ahmed broke into the scene in 2014 as a tall, lanky fast bowler who could generate serious pace and trouble any batter. He couldn't quite keep up the promise later and had almost sunk into oblivion due to injuries and other problems. But the fast bowler didn't lose heart and finally was able to make a strong comeback into the team.
Taskin is one of the fastest bowlers in the country right now but still doesn't get many opportunities at home especially in white-ball cricket. Taskin knows the reason behind this too. He can beat the batters for pace, but hasn't been able to develop slowers and cutters.
This has been a worrying sign for the 26-year-old and Taskin has been trying to develop a few variations. He consulted Mashrafe Mortaza for this too and when the legendary cricketer appeared at the Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur on Thursday, Taskin spent an hour with him and took a few pieces of advice.
Mashrafe has been away from international cricket since March last year and doesn't often go to the ground for practice or other purposes. It was revealed that Mashrafe went to Mirpur to teach Taskin how to grip the ball to bowl cutters and slowers.
Mashrafe worked with Taskin for an hour at the centre wicket in Mirpur. Mashrafe took a run-up and showed how to deliver a slower delivery. Then Taskin started delivering slower balls to Nurul Hasan.
Then Mashrafe asked Taskin to start spot bowling in order to improve accuracy. When a delivery bowled by Taskin just went past the cap kept beside the stumps, Mashrafe was seen applauding his effort.
After the session, Taskin told the media, "I requested Mashrafe bhai to spare some time to teach me some skills. I am improving every day when it comes to pace and swing. But I haven't been able to develop slowers and cutters. Mashrafe bhai showed me a few grips, saying that different grips will be applicable for different types of bowling actions. I hope I'll be able to apply those effectively and develop some variations."
"He showed me two-three grips. Mashrafe bhai told me not to tinker much because of the busy schedule ahead. For now, he has told me to try the cutters and then try the other ones after mastering it," Taskin added.
Taskin's compatriot Mustafizur Rahman is famous for his cutters and slowers and is getting overwhelming success by using them. But much before Mustafizur's rise, Mashrafe used slowers and cutters to good effect as he lost a lot of pace due to injuries.
That was the reason why Taskin consulted Mashrafe. "I won't be able to master the cutter Mustafizur bowls. I can swing the ball and my pace has increased. If I can add a few more variations to the armoury, I'll have more options. I used to bowl cutters but they didn't deviate much and mostly straightened after pitching. I'm trying to develop one which will be much slower than the stock balls without making any visible change in action," he said.
Taskin also thanked Mashrafe for having a bowling session with him and said that the session will help him try and have a few tricks up his sleeve.