The highest scorer in the history of English Test cricket is Sir Alastair Cook. The leading wicket-takers are James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
These two trivial facts make the 2018 Pataudi Trophy Test series against India a historic one for English cricket. When the team set foot in Oval for the last match of the series, it was the last time that these 3 legends of English cricket played together.
Sir Alastair Cook retired after that series, Broad and Anderson didn’t. So, why suddenly bring up that series? Well, we'd like to look at a policy that ECB took regarding these two-seamers.
Considering their age, ECB couldn’t play them every game. Considering their performance, which has been consistent, they couldn’t afford to drop them either.
Hence, they innovated a rotation policy that presumably would ensure the duo’s maximum utility.
After that series, England played 40 Tests. Anderson featured in 28 of them, Broad played 30 of them. In only 14 instances they featured together.
This rotation policy, apart from ensuring the best possible performance from these two, helped the team management build a competent Test seam bowling core with the rise of Jofra Archer, Sam Curran, Ollie Robinson, who were the direct products of this rotation policy, along with already existing Mark Wood and Chris Woakes.
The results might not be kind to the statement but those who have followed England during this time period can vouch that their bowling hardly fails them.
Currently, Bangladesh is playing the 2nd match of a 2-match Test series in South Africa. They lost the first Test. Shakib Al Hasan was absent from this match for family issues and Tamim Iqbal missed out at the very last moment due to illness.
Tamim is playing this match, his first after missing out on 6 games straight.
Shakib Al Hasan’s absence in Test cricket is one of the most talked-about topics in Bangladesh cricket. He missed 20 of the last 27 matches. Mushfiqur Rahim looks exhausted while batting despite his glorious innings against Pakistan last December.
These absences were not for a drop in performance. They are still the best we have in Test cricket when they play. The absences were for lack of physical fitness or mental health and fatigue.
Tamim Iqbal expressed his desire to cut his body some slack from the workload several times. This pretty much sums up the situation.
It should be noted that Tamim is 33, Shakib is 35 and Mushfiq will be 35 next month. Tamim has lost his ground in the T20 format. But the other two are still regular in all the 3 formats.
When England took the decision regarding Broad and Anderson, they were of similar age and they played only Test cricket. Then it would be pretty much logical for Bangladesh to follow a similar approach regarding the senior cricketers, since continuing all three formats must be strenuous for them.
Tamim is an opener; Mahmudul Hasan Joy is shining in that spot. Shanto is also doing decent in the top order. Naim Sheikh might not have the best of techniques but possess the survival skills to peel off the early pressure.
Shakib and Mushfiq are middle-order batters. They can be easily rotated by the likes of Yasir Ali, Liton Das, Mehidy Miraz or even Mosaddek Hossain maybe if team management thinks that way.
To sum up, this is becoming a need for Bangladesh Test cricket and there is no better time to apply it. We have to wait and see if the team management shares the same spirit here.