Chronic back injury casts cloud over Taskin's Test career

Bangladesh paceman Taskin Ahmed’s Test future looks to be in doubt after he sustained a disc-related problem on his back that might prevent him from taking part in the longer version of the sport. Recently, the fast bowler was not considered for the upcoming T20I series against Afghanistan due to the ongoing recovery.

Taskin has been plagued by back trouble for the last four months. While he has managed the injury earlier in his career, it has in recent months become more serious. While medication for the injury started this April 12, he is also undergoing a rehabilitation program with the physicians who are waiting to see how he responds.

The 23-year-old was expected to take part in the strength and conditioning camp of BCB’s High Performance specialized pace bowling squad beginning on Thursday (May 24). However, his condition has deteriorated suddenly forcing him to skip the trip to Cox’s Bazaar. This also puts his availability for the upcoming two-match Test series against the Windies in doubt.

Taskin, through a post on Facebook on May 22, revealed his agony. “I am having such a pain that I cannot get down from the bed. Please pray for my early recovery,” the post read.

BCB chief physician Debashish Chowdhury, on Wednesday, mentioned that the medical team is aware about Taskin’s condition. “It’s a disc-related injury. The biggest problem is that you cannot guess anything, so we cannot say what will happen tomorrow despite watching him doing well today,” said Chowdhury. “In his case, he is doing well for a couple of days and suddenly the pain increases substantially at home. The disc related problem is such and so it is difficult to make long-term plans with cricketers sustaining this kind of injury,” he added.

Chowdhury mentioned that the team of doctors treating him are now considering an alternative course of action as the conservative management has failed to give the desired results. “According to MRI, his back problem has not reached that stage where it would require surgery but he is not responding too well in the conservative management – a rehabilitation program designed with physiotherapy.

”We need to do something in-between and so we are thinking of giving him an injection on his backbone in one or two days. It might relieve the pain temporarily but you cannot say that it will have a long term effect,” he added.

Taskin made his international debut in a T20I against Australia in 2014 but grabbed the headlines through a five-wicket haul in his ODI debut in less than two months against the visiting Indian team. He made a late entry into the Test arena, making his debut against New Zealand in 2017, a delay which was largely due to a knee surgery.

His short career has been filled with several injuries, a rib injury had sidelined him for a brief period before the ICC charged him for a suspect bowling action during the World T20 in 2016. Taskin made a comeback after he reassessed his bowling action at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane. He was immediately selected for the home ODIs against Afghanistan and later against England, where he seemed to find his rhythm back.

Subsequently, he was recalled for Tests and made his debut against New Zealand. His prolonged lean patch since early 2017, a year in which he bagged just seven wickets in five Tests at an average of 97.42 and 10 wickets from nine ODIs, forced the selectors to drop him from all formats during the home series against Sri Lanka.

He returned to the T20 squad in the Nidahas Trophy but since then, he has been nursing the current back injury. As per Chowdhury, considering Taskin for Test cricket in the immediate future isn’t an option. “He can play with this temporary arrangement but even if he returns, we need to consider him only for ODIs and T20Is. He cannot take part in longer-version cricket immediately as there is a possibility that it can increase the pain to substantial extent.”

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