The man who is now the leading fast bowler of his country, broke down into tears as a young boy, all of 21 years old, after being suspended for suspect bowling action in the middle of the of ICC World T20 in 2016. It was far too much to bear for a rookie, who revelled in the spotlight, until it all vanished in the split of a second.
That was the first time.
The second time, was in 2019 at the BCB academy premises, when he was not picked for the 2019 Cricket World Cup, after desperately trying to make the cut in the 15-member World Cup squad. Alas, he failed to impress the team management.
Four years down the line, Taskin is considered the leader of the pace bowling unit playing in the ongoing 2023 ICC World Cup, but the scars remain to this day. He has a point to prove. Unfinished business.
“Look, a World Cup is a World Cup and every World Cup brings happiness.” Taskin told Cricbuzz recently. “It was in 2016, a long time ago, that I was banned for suspect bowling action. It wasn’t pleasant, but there’s no point talking about it right now.”
Taskin added that his journey after being overlooked for the 2019 World Cup squad has made him wiser, if not anything else.
“The journey was interesting and it was a big lesson of my life, and I got a good reality check. I was dropped from the team, and I just let it upto the almighty.” recounts Taskin. “I felt bad after getting dropped, but that gave me determination to make a comeback, and I still feel I have a lot more to give. I have only achieved one fourth of my dream and there is still a long way to go.”
“It is necessary to have a goal, otherwise you’re always floating.” said Taskin, speaking on what he aims to achieve in this tournament. “I have some personal goals and if I can achieve that in the World Cup, I would tell you only after the World Cup, so that I don’t put too much pressure on myself. Right now, I just need to give my best for my country.”
Taskin’s comeback after a long injury layoff and poor form have turned out to be an inspiration for his compatriots – something Bangladesh’s opening game hero Mehidy Hasan admitted after the game against Afghanistan.
“Taskin bhai was not in the team for nearly three years and worked really hard to make a comeback. He is getting the reward of all the hard work that he put during the last three years,” said Mehidy Hasan emphatically. “Like you said, if I can bat well and it is good for the team and me, then why not? (if Taskin can make it why can’t I).”
Taskin added that he is now more mature about handling everything, and his disciplined life played a big role in achieving it.
“Look, it is very normal for a player to have a disciplined life – to know what to eat and what not to, when to eat and when not to, and at the same time you need to keep yourself relaxed during vacations. When I wanted to learn about how to keep this balance, I started speaking with experts, and started following the life style of star players,” said Taskin, recalling his transformation. “My mind trainer and coach helped me too, and overall I wanted to follow a process. Process is the key and it is a very important word in my life.
“Like if I want to pick a wicket, I have to bowl in the right areas. Similarly, if I want to be fit, I need to be disciplined while working out, rest and recovery, and at the same time, will have to take care of my mental health. I am trying to learn these things and I feel I will develop more in these areas in the coming days.”
“Maintaining the process is difficult because as a player some days you will have a bad game, injuries, or you can do very well, but what I feel is that the process remains the same,” Taskin said, elaborating on his buzzword, process. “Yes, if you fail regularly, you think about whether something wrong with your process. Curbing my desires or staying away from the family for months to follow a process is not easy, but I still have to do it because I am playing for my country. I still have a long way to go but I want to set a standard for the fast bowlers in our country.”
During the last two years Taskin evolved as a pace bowler and became the leader of the pace attack, being the highest wicket taker for his country in the ODIs during this period at a miserly economy rate of under five runs an over.
Taskin reckons this accolade largely has to do with his experience.
“I think I am getting experience by playing because I am playing across formats. I am assessing the pitch better and understanding the conditions well. I’m analysing the batsmen and his weaknesses better,” said Taskin, reflecting on the his areas of development over the years. “It takes time because it rarely gets developed by playing for six months to one year. In the start of my career, I played for three years but whether I am doing well or poorly, I was always learning.
“Now when I came back, I felt that I have to do something for myself and for my country, and along with that I have a dream to be a world-class bowler. If you want to improve, you have to think more, and along with that you need skill development. I have improved from the past, but there is still room for improvement and I hope to do that. What I feel is that I am improving but at the same time experience matters.”
Taskin failed to live up to his reputation in the opening game against Afghanistan, picking 1-32 in six overs. However, the determination to complete the unfinished business in India will surely drive him to do better and Bangladesh would be keen to see if he can deliver his magic against England at Dharamshala, come October 10 – Bangladesh’s second game of the ICC World Cup 2023.