A Team Player
A livewire on the field and a player who exudes confidence every time the team is under pressure, at 21, Nasir Hossain has already caught the attention of many international teams. He was bought for a whopping two lakh dollars in the first edition of the Bangladesh Premier League. He talks to the Star regarding the Asia Cup experience and his future plans.
Bangladesh was reeling at 58 for 6 when you came to bat in your first one day international (ODI). What was it like entering the field?
I tried to asses the situation and bat normally. It was my job to stay at the wicket and play my natural game. There was obviously a lot of pressure, first match, but I tried to play a good innings.
Did you think you'd get a chance to play your first international game in the series against Zimbabwe?
There are times when a player is picked for a series but doesn't get a chance to play. The game against Zimbabwe wasn't like that. I always knew I'd get a chance to play so I was mentally prepared.
The most noticeable aspect of your game in the first match was your ability to pull the ball. Is that your favourite shot?
Well, honestly speaking, I don't have a favourite shot. It's customary for Bangladeshi batsmen to practice that shot (pull) very well. I trained a lot and that's one of the reasons why I am good at playing the 'pull'.
How did you come about bowling both medium pace and off-spin?
I used to bowl medium-pace in the beginning, but later on I changed to spin. I actually have no problem with either spin or pace. I'll do anything for the team. Even if the captain asks me to bowl leg-spin or bat down the order, I really have no problem. I'm committed to my team.
Do you consider yourself to be a batting-all rounder, considering the fact that you don't bowl as often?
The thing is we have a number of good bowlers in our team, so I guess that's why I didn't get a chance to do a lot with the ball. But I am a good bowler and I consider both batting and bowling equally important.
Can Nasir Hossain be the next Shakib for Bangladesh?
How was the 'Asia Cup' experience?
Till now the Asia Cup was obviously the biggest tournament of my life. I was very focused from the very beginning. I wanted to do something big and contribute to the team. It was always going to be tough, bowling and batting against some of the best players in the world. I practiced really hard and enjoyed it at the end. The Bangladesh Premier League also helped quite a bit.
You seem to have come out of the characteristic 'slow approach' taken by Bangladeshi middle-order Batsmen. In the game against India, for instance, you were on a roll right from the word go.
The situation in that game was as such that I needed to play in that manner. The high asking rates in the BPL actually helped me there. I batted down the order for Khulna Royals and needed to be aggressive. So, when I got a similar situation against India it seemed easy for me.
You seem to have built up a good rapport with Shakib Al Hasan. You both have had good partnerships recently.
Well it's a different feeling batting with Shakib. If he faces 10 balls he'll ensure that he gets at least 10 runs. So there is really no pressure with him on the other side. That allows me to play my natural game.
They say if you are groomed well, you can be the next Shakib. Any thoughts on that?
I understand that people have a lot of hope and expectations. There is more responsibility on me after my performance. It's understandable. It is an extra pressure, but I try not to think about these things. I try to play every ball to its merit.
The media recently tagged you as a 'finisher'. Are you comfortable with that role?
I actually don't consider myself to be a finisher. I couldn't finish the games against India and Pakistan. But yes, I would like to finish games and I need to work on this aspect. As of now, I want to create a permanent spot for myself in the middle order.
Bangladesh cricket has seen talented players fade away from international cricket. Alok Kapali, Mohammad Ashraful and Aftab Ahmed are prime examples. What do you think you have to do in order to be different?
I don't think I have to do anything different at all actually. I am going to focus on my natural game and play the way I want to. I obviously have to practice hard and improve the weaker aspects of my game… but I'll definitely continue with my style of play. Nothing different.
Nasir Hossain played a key role in the Asia Cup. Photo: AFP
How is the dressing room environment of the Bangladesh team?
Well, during the Zimbabwe tour (debut series) I wasn't quite able to grasp the scenario. But I realised later on that we are all very positive. We always play to win. Frankly, I believe we have the perfect environment that a good team requires.
Do you have an idol or anybody whom you like to follow?
I don't have an idol of any sort. I do however, like to understand the way players play in different situations. I like the way Mike Hussey and Rahul Dravid play for their teams and try to learn a lot from them. I also like watching Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Shakib, Tamim Iqbal play. But that doesn't mean that I want to bat like them. They have their unique style and I have mine. I can only be the best by continuing to develop my style of play.
So what does Nasir Hossain do when he is away from cricket?
I am a crazy fan of bikes. I like going on bike rides and roaming around with friends. Honestly speaking, the addas aren't as eventful as before. I can't go to the places I used to. I have to be a little reserved now.
Bangladesh supporters can be both violent and ecstatic. How do you plan to tackle them?
Our supporters need to understand that we are playing for the country. We never want Bangladesh to lose. The way Rajib bhai (Shahadat Hossain) bowled the last over in the finals wasn't done on purpose. Even (Stuart) Broad was smacked for six sixes in an over. Nobody comes to the field for a picnic. We all play to win. We may lose sometimes, but our supporters need to understand.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Honestly, I can't think that far ahead. I like to take it match by match. I want to improve my game as an all-rounder. One of my goals is to keep my batting average above 35 throughout my career.