Not long ago, Nasir Hossain was one of the elite as far as Bangladesh cricket goes. For three years since August 2011, he was present in some of Bangladesh's brightest moments, but was slowly phased out in the aftermath of the Tigers' terrible results in 2014. Then, along with the change in leadership in the form of coach Chandika Hathurusingha and captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza came an influx of new players like Sabbir Rahman, Soumya Sarkar and more recently Mosaddek Hossain. While these players have cemented their places in the team, Nasir has only played three ODIs for Bangladesh since November 2011.
“I don't think of them as competitors, I don't believe there is such a thing as that in the national team. They are playing well, and I pray that the national players always play well,” said Nasir while speaking to the press during the ongoing fitness camp of a preliminary national squad at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. “And those who play in the national team, they don't always play well. So, just like the path to the national team is open for me, it will be open for other players as well. If you play well, you will get the chance.”
To Nasir's credit, he has kept making his case for national inclusion. He averaged 240 for champions Gazi Group Cricketers in last season's Dhaka Premier League, including a Herculean finish to the season. He has also been one of the more popular national players, and certainly the most popular of those not currently playing in the national team. His immense showing in the DPL earned him a place in the squad that toured Ireland before the Champions Trophy, and he hopes that he can continue to stay in contention.
“Yes, it is true that I have been out of the team for a long time, but the target is not that I will enter the team now. I am practising with the team and that is my biggest function now,” Nasir said. “I have the belief that the way I have been playing, if I continue that then hopefully I can make my way back into the national team.”
The fitness camp that began on July 10 is set to continue till the end of the month as part of the preparations for the two-Test series against Australia at home in late August and then the full tour of South Africa in September-October. Although he has been pigeonholed as a one-day cricketer, Nasir believes that he can make a case for inclusion in the Test side as well.
“If I practise well and if there is a practice match, I want to play well there and get a chance in the Test team.” He also stressed on the importance of the fitness camp. “Fitness has a 60 per cent contribution in us performing well. So fitness is important for us, and by the grace of the Almighty we are all doing well in that department. I hope that if we do the next two-three weeks well then we will be able to go a year on the strength of the work done here.”