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Cricket news - Nayeem reinforces selectors' faith in youth

Nayeem Hasan bowled 32 overs on the trot as he bagged a four-wicket haul

Nayeem Hasan bowled 32 overs on the trot as he bagged a four-wicket haul

Bangladesh's young off-spinner Nayeem Hasan repaid the faith of his selectors, who had opted for youth against experience ahead of the standalone Test against Zimbabwe. Nayeem picked a four-for on Saturday (February 22), keeping Bangladesh in contention after they lost the toss.

The selectors preferred the 19-year-old after an outstanding bowling performance in the domestic circuit, which included 21 wickets in two matches. Nayeem claimed 4-68 on a placid, batting-friendly wicket that included a 32-over spell on the trot, forcing Zimbabwe into being content with 228 for 6 at Stumps on the first day.

"I just planned to bowl in one area," Nayeem said. "Spinners needed to have pace variations. We tried to bowl in one area for maximum time without giving them much to score."

For the last three years, Bangladesh's off-spin department has been largely dominated by Mehidy Hasan, who went on to feature in every single Test Bangladesh played at home since his debut against England in 2016, playing 11 successive Tests in his backyard. But the management going for Nayeem over Mehidy seems to have paid off.

On Saturday, Nayeem came to bowl during the 11th over of Zimbabwe innings after pacer Abu Jayed had already given Bangladesh their first breakthrough. Although Prince Masvaure and skipper Craig Ervine put a decent 111-run stand for the second wicket, Nayeem had enough in him to keep troubling the batsmen.

Nayeem eventually dismissed Masvaure with a straightforward catch off his own bowling and then bowled Brendan Taylor in his next over to bring Bangladesh back in the contest. Nayeem then got rid of Sikandar Raza before claiming the prized wicket of Ervine, who struck his third Test hundred, and gave the hosts a great relief in the penultimate over of the day.

"The wicket [Ervine] was important for us at the end of day's play. Now we will try to get them all out as early as possible. They have four wickets with tail-enders to come," he said.

Naeem also credited spinner Taijul Islam for his calculated bowling from the other end. "I am happy with the bowling performance of my team today. Taijul [Islam] created pressure from the other end which led me to pick the wickets. Tomorrow, if I create pressure from one side, Taijul bhai will get the wickets."

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