NZ vs Bangladesh 1. test – Ebadot Hossain

A touching speech from the team director, a specific message from the captain, some encouragement from his teammates and an avid bowling coach. These were some of the ingredients for Ebadot Hossain’s match-winning performance in Bangladesh’s stunning test win against New Zealand. One day after the incredible feat, Ebadot spoke to ESPNcricinfo about how he, a struggling bowler who cared about a poor bowling average, turned things around.

You have come a long way since the pacer hunt in 2016 …

I came out as a speedster from the pacer hunt in 2016. The BCB put me in the High Performance unit for three years. They trained me. I played on the A-team, BCB XI, and gradually reached this stage.

How did you build up to your numbers of 6 for 46 in the first test?

I think we should go back to the beginning of the trip. We were quarantined for 10 days. The day before our first training session, team director Khaled Mahmud Sujon spoke sir to everyone with a speech. He said: ‘We have not won a single match in New Zealand in 21 years. Does that mean we will always lose here? A team must win here. I think it’s Bangladesh’s best team and what beats New Zealand to make history ‘.

This speech inspired me a lot. I thought to myself, someone should win here. It should be us, this group. Our captain [Mominul Haque], Mushfiq bhai [Mushfiqur Rahim] and Litton [Das] also spoke well. The fact that motivation works, this match is the proof. I said to myself that we will be the team that beat New Zealand on New Zealand soil. They are world champions [of Test cricket], but if we give our best in the field, no one can beat us.

During my second spell [on the fourth day], the support of my teammates touched me. I think I did everything I wanted with the ball. The captain said to me, ‘Cheers to your heart’s content, we are with you’. I never looked back. Each ball I bowled 140 plus.

That’s the case. You kept hitting a certain length, but how did you manage to bowl both spells around the same speed of 140 km / h on the fourth day?

If you’re fit enough as a fast bowler, you can do anything. Fitness is the first thing for a fast bowler. Part of my preparation was to play four first-class matches before the test series against Pakistan. I wanted to improve my physical condition and mental toughness through these four matches and I think I bowled well against Pakistan as a result.
Initially, we had to have a three-day quarantine in the room in New Zealand before we started training. Unfortunately we ended up in the room for ten days. We obviously could not run, but the BCB provided us with Theraband flex bars and stationary cycles. I spent days and nights staying in shape. Fitness trainer Nick Lee and physiotherapist Bayezid bhai also helped us a lot, [so] all six fast bowlers are fit.

What changed for you in the Mount Maunganui test from an individual point of view?

I had not put things together despite my test debut in 2019. It aroused some criticism. I have worked with [fast-bowling coach] Ottis Gibson for the past two years. He always encourages me and says things like: ‘You have the ability to swing the ball both ways. You can turn the ball. You have the best release position in Bangladesh. You have everything except self-confidence. The day you have confidence, you will be the best bowler in the country ‘.

He changed everything in my bowling. With my previous bowling act, I used to lose energy in the last spells. Gibson changed my action so I could bowl faster with less effort. My accuracy has also improved. Today he said to the team meeting: ‘I can see the perfect Ebadot today. He has understood what to do. He will now take it further. “

The captain was also very encouraging and he always tries to help me.

Captain Mominul Haque said you can finish teams when you bowl well. He said that when you took the three wickets on the fourth night, he finally felt that Bangladesh could win the test …

There is a background to any success. Everyone from the outside – the support, the substitutes – were very helpful. Najmul Hossain Shanto kept telling me from the note, keep bowling fast. The Captain and Mushfiq bhai said the bowlers are fine, let’s support them. Taskin [Ahmed] kept telling me things were working out. We will win the game.

Believe me, hearing all this from all my teammates got something burning in me. I would give anything to win this test. I gave mine 120%. I just kept bowling fast at the stumps and the ball turned so much. It was incredible.

The key wicket was Ross Taylor’s on the fifth morning. He had survived two chances the fourth night. Did you plan to throw more inswingers at him?

Removing Ross Taylor early meant their tail would be revealed and that meant we would not chase a big total. Mushfiq bhai gave a good tip when he said that batsmen take some time to move their feet early in the morning. I should bowl my best ball in the morning. I saw the first ball move a little inward. I bowled the next one with all my might and it turned so nicely that it hit him.

It seemed that the two of you had a short conversation after you beat him at some point on the fourth night. What were you two talking about?

I told him you can hit so well, why do not you hit me? He said, ‘Brother, if you bowl like that on this court, no one can beat you’.

After the Taylor wicket, what did you think of the capture of Shoriful Islam?

It was a incredible catch. Funny, Taijul [Islam] bhai and Shadman [Islam] all took brilliant catches. We did so well. If you were here, you would have run into the ground in joy. I do not think anyone could have stood still on the ground. We had such a good feeling among us. I think this victory proved for our country that Bangladesh can beat any team anywhere.

“I told Ross Taylor you can hit so well, why don’t you hit me? He said, ‘Brother, if you bowl like that on this court, no one can hit you.'”

It also seems that there is a lot of affection within the pace-bowling group.

We talk a lot with each other. When Taskin bowled during the test match and he bowled an amazing delivery, I told him that his pace looks scary even from the middle. Taskin also keeps encouraging me when I bowl. He recently told me that we spend 11 months on a year together. If we become like a family, we can do many good things together.

There is now great interest in your air force background. I mean not only the festive salute, but being in the Air Force must have also helped you become a more disciplined and fit person?

It is a different lifestyle for uniformed persons. They are very disciplined and keep it to themselves. It has helped me a lot on a personal level. I always remember this background, which is also a reminder that I represent my nation on two fronts.

Before this test, were you very worried about your bowling average?

I do not want anyone to start their international career like me. I have struggled a lot. I said to Ottis: ‘Coach, not a single test wicket came easily. I have had to work very hard for every wicket. I sometimes got a wicket after 17 overs or 22 or 33 overs. There were tests when I only got one wicket ‘.

He just smiled and said, ‘Welcome to test cricket’ (laughs). He said: ‘You are a Bangladeshi fast bowler. The conditions are not to your advantage. How many tests do you play in a year? So get the most out of your options’.

Patience is everything in tests. That’s why it’s called “Test”. It tests the patience of batsmen and bowlers. Playing a test is not easy.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @ isam84

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