3 reasons why Rishad Hossain is one of the next big things in Bangladesh cricket

South Africa v Bangladesh - ICC Men
Rishad Hossain has impressed with his game-changing spells during the ongoing T20 World Cup

Bangladesh moved an inch closer to qualifying for the Super Eight stage of the 2024 T20 World Cup with an impressive 25-run win over the Netherlands at St. Vincent on Thursday, June 13. While Shakib Al Hasan's match-winning knock and the pacers' performance stole the limelight, leg-spinner Rishad Hossain was the actual game-changer at a crucial time in the contest.

Chasing 160, the Netherlands were on course at 104/3 in 14 overs, requiring only 56 off the final six overs. However, Rishad bowled an incredible 15th over by picking up two massive wickets and conceding only seven runs to tilt the match in Bangladesh's favor.

He picked up another wicket in his final over and gave away just seven runs to finish with outstanding figures of 3/33 in four overs. Bangladesh's chances of advancing deep into the tournament could hinge on Rishad's wicket-taking abilities, especially in the back half of the innings.

At 21, the youngster is only getting started and could help Bangladesh become more consistent on away conditions and ICC events.

On that note, let us look at three reasons why Rishad Hossain could be one of the next big things in Bangladesh cricket.


#1 Finally! A leggie from Bangladesh's spin factory

Bangladesh have enjoyed quite the spin factory over the years, producing tweakers at will to attain success on wickets at home. Yet, what's startling is the fact that all their accomplished spinners have been left-arm or off-spinners.

In an era dominated by leg-break and mystery spinners, the Tigers' shortcomings in that department have often been exposed against the stronger sides of world cricket. While six of their top 10 leading wicket-takers all-time across formats have been spinners, none of them are leggies.

Jubair Hossain was their last recognized leg-spinner, and his being 46th all-time in wickets by a Bangladesh bowler highlights the side's main liability. All this is why Rishad Hossain is such a breath of fresh air for Bangladesh and their fans.

That he is making his mark on the biggest stage like the ongoing T20 World Cup at just 21 promises plenty for Bangladesh cricket's future.

Skipper Najmul Shanto and head coach Chandika Hathurusingha have spoken about the importance of Rishad's emergence during the ongoing World Cup.

"He is very good, the way we bowled last couple of series, he practiced very hard. We’ve struggled with leg-spinners over the last 10-15 yrs so we’re lucky we got one. Hopefully, he can continue," said Shanto after the South Africa game.

Meanwhile, Hathurusingha said about Rishad:

"We backed him for a year. We knew that he is going to win games for us. Winning that game was important. It was very satisfying. You know how challenging it is for us to get a leg spinner into the team. It is the culture. We don't understand the value of a leg spinner. I think we are understanding the value of leg spin, and he is growing in confidence."

Rishad has been in sensational form in the ongoing T20 World Cup with seven wickets at an average of 12.42 and an economy of 7.25 in three outings.


#2 Rishad can single-handedly turn matches on its head

More than his overall spells, Rishad Hossain's ability to turn around games at any stage has been most eye-catching during the 2024 T20 World Cup. In Bangladesh's tournament opener, Sri Lanka were coasting at 100/3 in 14 overs when the youngster took center stage.

He picked up back-to-back wickets to start the 15th over followed by a third scalp off the first ball of the 17th to decimate the Lankan innings. 100/3 became 109/6 in no time, thanks to Rishad's brilliance as Bangladesh restricted Sri Lanka to a paltry 124/9 in 20 overs.

As mentioned earlier, it was a case of copy-paste in Bangladesh's most recent wins against the Netherlands when the leggie's three wickets in his final two overs completely flipped the contest.

Between the Sri Lanka and Netherlands encounters, Rishad was tasked with bowling the 19th over to a well-set David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen against South Africa. Yet, displaying maturity beyond his age, the youngster cleaned up Miller and conceded only four runs as the Proteas were restricted to 113/6 in 20 overs.

This rare ability to overcome bad starts and bowl the tough overs to turn games around is a remarkable quality Rishad already possesses at such an early stage in his career. His versatility to deliver wickets and contain runs at any stage of the innings is something Bangladesh have missed with more templated bowlers over the years.


#3 A Rashid Khan-esque all-round package

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For all the excitement Rishad Hossain has created in Bangladesh with his leg-spin magic, one must not forget his batting prowess lower down the order.

The 21-year-old scored a brilliant 14-ball 48* against Sri Lanka earlier this year and also smashed a breathtaking 53 off 30 from 32/6 against the same opponent in a T20I. Rishad struck seven maximums in that innings, the most by a Bangladesh batter.

Despite batting at No.7 or 8, the right-hander averages almost 13 at a strike rate of 129 in his 20-game T20I career. Rishad's ability to produce lower-order heroics and game-changing spells with his leg-spin bowling is reminiscent of Afghanistan's talisman Rashid Khan.

Bangladesh will hope Rishad could become their version of Rashid Khan over the next few years.

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Edited by Ankush Das
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