Bangladesh Test team off-spinner Taijul Islam has bemoaned the absence of ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and admitted that Shakib not playing has led to some of Bangladesh's poor performances in Tests recently.
In the last six test matches, Bangladesh have lost all six including five by an innings and Taijul has expressed that there is no one on par with Shakib's bowling and that has been a big factor
"The spinners in the team are not on the same level as Shakib Bhai. It would have been better if he was here. We don't have spinners of that level and that might be the reason behind the recent results," Taijul said to the media on Tuesday.
Shakib is currently serving a one-year ban imposed by the ICC for being approached by an Indian bookie on WhatsApp multiple times and failing to report it to the ICC or the BCB.
Bangladesh will play a one-off Test match against Zimbabwe starting 22 February and Taijul is part of that Test squad as the most experienced Test bowler and the leader of the attack.
The Tigers will start as slight favourites against Zimbabwe despite their recent record in Tests, as Bangladesh have generally tended to get the better of their opposition on home soil and that is something that Taijul is also targeting.
"Obviously, we need to win. Against Zimbabwe or any other team. Winning is important now because that will boost up our confidence," Taijul said.
Taijul also added that he's motivated to do well against Zimbabwe especially because it's a home Test in familiar conditions: "It feels good to be playing on home soil as there is the urge to do well. I think that doing well (on home soil) is expected from the fans and we expect to do well here too."
Taijul has 35 wickets against Zimbabwe – the most amount of wickets he has had against any opposition – but he didn't want that to be something to be made a big deal out of it.
"I don't like talks of me surfacing (before a series against Zimbabwe). I have picked up wickets against many teams, not only Zimbabwe. I have said it earlier that whoever you play against, you need bowl in the right areas to pick up wickets. If you can do it, wickets will come. If you cannot, then it will not," the off-spinner explained.
In 2018, Zimbabwe pulled off an unexpected win over Bangladesh in the first-ever Test match played at Sylhet, but Taijul didn't want to call it a shock or an upset.
Bangladesh did go on to win the next Test match played at Mirpur and level the series 1-1.
"I won't call it an accident. We lost because of our poor performance. The next match we played well and won it. If you don't play well in cricket, you will lose," Taijul said.