Abu Jayed – swinging his way into the World Cup mix

9:30 AM ETMohammad IsamBangladesh correspondent, ESPNcricinfo CloseFollow on TwitterFacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailprint

The bolt from the blue that was being discussed in cricketing circles in Bangladesh ahead of the World Cup squad announcement ended up being Abu Jayed. Taskin Ahmed or, at the very least, Shafiul Islam were expected to get the nod for the reserve pace bowler’s position. But Jayed, not even mentioned by BCB president Nazmul Hassan in the press briefing a few weeks ago when he named nearly every member of the squad, made the final 15.

Jayed, 25, swings the ball. On a cloudy day in the United Kingdom, he is the best man to get the ball to move around among Bangladesh’s second line of pace bowlers behind Mashrafe Mortaza, Mustafizur Rahman and Rubel Hossain, as chief selector Minhajul Abedin pointed out. His lack of pace makes him a risky option on flat pitches, though, but seeing that he has only been chosen as a back-up option, that might not come into play much.

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Jayed has played more first-class matches than any pace bowler in Bangladesh in the last decade, and has been very successful too – he is the leading wicket-taker among pace bowlers in the last decade. Jayed translated some of that longer-version knowledge into a good start in his Test career, taking seven wickets against West Indies last year.

He was a far cry from Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder Kemar Roach, but as the least experienced pace bowler from Bangladesh, he at least put the ball in the right places for long enough, and reaped some rewards. He was also Bangladesh’s best quick bowler on view in New Zealand last month, as the likes of Mustafizur, Ebadot Hossain and Khaled Ahmed struggled in helpful conditions.

Jayed’s selection is a reminder of how Adam Dale made it to the Australia squad for the 1999 World Cup in England – his ability to swing the ball. Closer to home in 2015, Bangladesh opted for Al-Amin Hossain specifically because of his ability to bowl tightly to left-handers.

Jayed, however, is uncapped in ODIs and largely untested, and his selection ahead of the more experienced Taskin and Shafiul has certainly raised some eyebrows back home. Taskin was on the mend after his ankle injury, but failed to prove his fitness in the Dhaka Premier League match he played last week. For someone with so much promise, Taskin has stuttered since 2017, when he lost his place in the team mainly because he lost a lot of his pace. As for the experienced Shafiul, the perennial go-to pace bowler for the selectors, injuries have kept him from nailing down a permanent place in the senior side.

Jayed trumped the pair mainly because of how he has shown improvement since coming into the senior set-up back in January 2018. He only got proper match time in the West Indies and New Zealand recently, but it was evident that his consistency in length impressed some of the senior players in the team, as well as bowling coach Courtney Walsh, and that might have clinched it for him in the end.