For Imrul Kayes the West Indies tour later this month could well be the series that seals him a spot in the national side; a sweet reward for the numerous comebacks he attempted over the last two years.
After nearly a three-year of hiatus from international cricket he stormed back with a century against Sri Lanka in Chittagong in February this year. In the Asia Cup he just played one game, in which he scored a half-century against Pakistan, before getting injuring.
However, despite his promising performances he was not a regular in the side. The Asia Cup saw selectors prefer Shamsur Rahman and Anamul Haque ahead of him. Tamim Iqbal's return in the India series meant that there was no room for him.
This time though, Imrul is on a different mission. He is not competing with the openers in the side, but for the crucial number three spot.
“I had a discussion with the coach (Chandika Hathurusingha) and he told me that he wants me to play at number three and asked me to be mentally ready for that,” Kayes told reporters at Mirpur yesterday during the innings break of the practice match.
The one-down position has been a problem for the Tigers in the recent past. The last three years have seen Bangladesh play five players in that position with young Mominul Haque churning out the most impressive stats. Mominul scored 375 runs in 13 games at an average of 29 -- by far the best figures in that position. However, the left-hander's recent form has been a concern.
Yesterday's practice game at Mirpur saw Mominul chase a wide delivery and get caught at slip for a duck. Kayes on the other hand, scored a steady 59 off 79 balls, an innings which saw him score five fours and two sixes.
Kayes's impressive run during Bangladesh's A tour in the West Indies earlier this year is another aspect that puts him ahead of both Mithun and Mominul for the upcoming series. He scored a century and seemed like the only confident batsman there.
“We trained hard before these practice matches. Although our overall performances in both the games may not have been up to the mark, we needed to play,” said Kayes.
Kayes's observation was accurate. His side was bundled out for just 201 on a flat track in the first innings yesterday. Rubel Hossain, who seemed to be bowling in the high 130s, was one of the chief destroyers finishing with figures of three for 45. National skipper Mushfiqur Rahim also appeared to hurt his hand while keeping, but he did not seem to be in much trouble after a visit from the physio.