• Saturday, December 20, 2014

Freedom in the air

Clock ticks quicker for Mominul?

Sports Reporter

Meet Mominul Haque. A diminutive batsman with a gigantic Test average of 75.50 and three centuries in his last seven innings, he is easily Bangladesh's highest run-scorer in the last two years.

You would have to be impressed by his attitude as well. When former head coach Shane Jurgensen, through a text message, congratulated him after he helped himself to a stroke-filled 181 against New Zealand -- which by the way was his maiden Test century -- all the little left-hander did was reply with a one-liner stating that it was his job.

A week before the Tigers left for the West Indies Mominul was caught at second slip for nought in a practice match at Mirpur. The left-hander spent the next two hours practising in the nets instead of taking the easy pathway to the dressing room.

In the last Test against Sri Lanka, Mominul came in to bat with Bangladesh a jittery 81 for two. With the fifth-day wicket producing quite a bit of turn and Bangladesh's not-so-great fourth innings record, there was fear of a collapse.

The left-hander not only steadied the ship with his calm approach but remained unbeaten on a hundred at the end of that day. To think of playing a Test match without Mominul in the line-up at that point of time would have been considered utter folly.

However, six months on and the left-hander is unsure of making the starting 11 in Bangladesh's next Test.

After a disappointing tour of the West Indies under the Bangladesh A banner earlier this year, the player has suddenly become dispensable in both ODIs and Tests.

He was dropped after one ODI against India in the last series, he was given a chance in the insignificant third ODI against the West Indies in this series and now there is a threat to his position in the first Test starting September 5.

He was out for 10 in the first innings of the three-day practice match against St Kitts and was not given a chance to bat in the second, which may be an indicator of the team management's plans.

Apart from his dull form, selectors have pointed to his weakness against the short ball as the reason behind overlooking him in the first two ODIs.

While these are logical reasons, one cannot help but wonder about the apparent double standards in the selection process.

The player in contention to take his place at number four is the uncapped Shuvagata Hom, who has been among the runs in the practice match.

However, the question is whether Mominul has been given enough opportunities. A cursory comparison with the rest of the players in the side makes it seem like he has not.

Tamim Iqbal for instance managed to recover from his bad patch right before the West Indies series after numerous chances.

Mahmudullah Riyad, who batted at four in the second innings of the practice match, scored just 62 runs in his last six Test innings.

Is replacing Mominul without giving him at least half the number of chances that some of the other players in the side have had the right way to go? Is he not worth it?

Whatever strategy the Tigers adopt from this Friday, one hopes that it pans out; however, by not giving an unconfident Mominul the chance to regain form in the second innings of the three-day game, they may have already made their first mistake.

Published: 12:01 am Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Last modified: 5:49 am Wednesday, September 03, 2014

TAGS: Sri Lanka ODI Clock ticks Mominul Haque. gigantic Test

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