Just under five months ago, Sabbir Rahman was rushed back early into the Bangladesh squad through board-level tinkering with the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s own six-month disciplinary ban. The argument for Sabbir’s re-inclusion was that he would be vital at the number seven position for Bangladesh in the World Cup and so should go on the ODI tour of New Zealand in February. Sabbir repaid that faith by striking his first ODI century against the Kiwis in the third ODI.
Around about the same time, Mosaddek Hossain was not selected for the New Zealand tour and it seemed, to those few who paid attention to this cricketer whose first-class average is nearly 60, that a promising international start would peter out into oblivion. Yesterday, Mosaddek made his second valuable contribution to a late-overs surge for Bangladesh in the World Cup from the demanding number seven spot. Meanwhile, Sabbir was cooling his heels in the dressing room, having gotten out for a golden duck in the one World Cup match -- the previous one against Australia -- he got to play in place of the injured Mosaddek.
With Mosaddek also taking a wicket with his part-time off-spin after a cameo of 24-ball 35 helped Bangladesh score 262 for seven, the place seems to be his to lose for the remainder of the group stage at least.
There was luck involved in Mosaddek’s resurgence and Sabbir’s fall, but it also had to do with seizing the moment -- a quality that Sabbir has lacked since the Ireland tri-series and one which Mosaddek has shared with Liton Das, the other player who made a comeback to the first eleven.
In Ireland, Sabbir played four of Bangladesh’s five matches but did not get opportunities to play many deliveries in most of those matches as neither West Indies nor Ireland could make inroads into Bangladesh’s top order until the final. Mosaddek played two matches, and when West Indies did make inroads Sabbir, promoted to number three, fell for a second-ball duck. Mosaddek won a tough chase with an unbeaten 27-ball 52.
Mosaddek then hit a 21-ball 30 as Bangladesh plundered runs in their World Cup opening win against South Africa. Despite the Ireland heroics, Mosaddek may not have had the opportunity to play the opener had Mahmudullah Riyad’s injured shoulder not stopped him from bowling his part-time off-spin.
Having gotten the luck, Mosaddek has continued to cash in with competent performances with the ball and, when needed yesterday, scoring 34 of the 55 runs Bangladesh scored in the last seven overs on a slow pitch. Sabbir’s luck and his capitalisation of it, meanwhile, seemed to have been used up in the one-month reduction of his ban.