Fast bowler Rubel Hossain on his delivery stride during a practice session of the national team at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. The paceman made it to the Test squad against West Indies after recovering from a shoulder injury which kept him out of play for almost seven months. Inset, Junaed SiddiquePhoto: STAR
Junaed Siddique's batting career has followed the path of a number of other Bangladeshi batsmen. When in song, the top-order batsman flayed some of the world's best bowlers to the different corners of the park. There were even times when he displayed sheer grit while batting in tough conditions. However, his lack of consistency more often than not, got the better of him.
The top-order batsman, who is aiming to make a return to the Test fold after nearly two years, was seen hitting in the nets during the Tigers' practice session at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium yesterday.
His 181 against Rajshahi in the second match of the national cricket league propelled his changes of making the team as the national selectors were struggling to find a partner for Tamim Iqbal at the top of the batting order.
“It feels good to make the 15-man team. I played a few good innings in Test cricket before and the century in the NCL has definitely given me a much-needed boost,” said Junaed.
“There are very few opportunities in Test cricket, especially for us. And I want to make the most of it,” he added.
While he played a fine knock in his last innings in the NCL, he however, struggled to score (19 and 4) in the first match of the league, which incidentally took place at the Sher-e-Bangla.
“The wicket that we played on during the league was quite uneven. Personally, I don't think that was a wicket that would suit international cricket,” explained Junaed.
With Bangladesh entering the Test arena after playing the shorter versions of the game for almost a year, the question would be as to how much they have progressed in this format of the game. According to Junaed, it all depends on teamwork and the 'right focus.
“We can't win a Test match just because of Shakib or any other individual brilliance. The players need to take it session by session. We lost five wickets in one session in a game against India after a good start some time back. We have to ensure that these things don't reoccur,” said Junaed.
Another player, who has literally changed his entire batting approach to make the Test team, is Naeem Islam. The Gaibandha-based cricketer, who last represented the national fold in a one day international against Pakistan in December last year, made his way into the team after a series of gritty performances.
The all-rounder scored two centuries in the two games that he played in the NCL. More importantly, he spent more than 12 hours on the crease for both those innings.
“I wanted to adjust myself to the longer version of the game, so I tried adapting to the game,” said Naeem.
The player who was given the nickname “Sixer Naeem” for his ability to play aggressive innings said that he had to work hard to change his approach.
He performed in a
similar way against the West Indies High Performance team that visited Bangladesh in September.
“I batted in the nets for hours and followed my coach's advice,” said Naeem.
“I still don't know if I am going to make the team or what position I might bat in. If I do get selected I'll bat according to the situation,” he added.