Sabbir Rahman was once considered one of Bangladesh’s most formidable promising prospects. His ability to find more time when facing faster bowlers was counted on by the team management and his progress in away conditions saw his star rise in Bangladesh cricket after coming onto the scene in 2014.
Sabbir’s place in the squad was once thought to be a formality and the 28-year-old’s haul of 66 ODIs and 44 T20Is goes some way to showing the faith that was placed on him. However, how much of that potential has actually been repaid with performances so far is a factor that can go on to define the present state of Bangladesh cricket as well.
Bangladesh cricket has often seen promising prospects fall away after early skirmishes. Many have failed to live up to standards and their national futures are now considered bleak. Names such as Shamsur Rahman Shuvo, Shahriar Nafees or a more comparable character in Nasir Hossain come to mind when delving into Sabbir’s career. Their national team career faded due to inconsistency after early promise. Is Sabbir also following that trend?
His innings of 85 against Rangpur Riders in last edition’s Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) saw him get back in contention for the World Cup, with skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza himself backing his inclusion. Serving a ban for disciplinary issues at the time, the management reduced Sabbir’s sentence in order for him make the World Cup squad. He then struck a hundred in the New Zealand ODIs.
He played only twice in England and following the World Cup did not make an impact and is quickly fading from discussions when it comes to someone who can play an important part for the Tigers.
“In the World Cup I played two matches and obviously I can’t score 200 runs in two matches even if I try. Maybe I would have carried out my responsibility if I played four or five matches but unfortunately whoever played in my place did well,” Sabbir told The Daily Star yesterday.
He played all three ODIs in Sri Lanka but was dropped from the side during the home T20I tri-series. Even skipper Shakib Al Hasan’s high-profile ban did not lead to selectors picking Sabbir as he was not included for the T20Is in India.
Sabbir feels that he is still going through a learning phase. “Maybe in the last five years, I got out after 30 or 40. Perhaps If I could have converted those to 60 or 70s, then I wouldn’t have to see such days. Maybe I would have been an automatic choice. Everyone has a learning phase which I am going through now and from here on in this is my learning process to learn and reach the next step,” he said.
Sabbir said he was keen to ‘repay the faith shown’ by captain Mashrafe and he reiterated that he considers the BPL to be the stage which can help him get back to the national team fold. “The Sabbir of before was more excited but I feel more responsible now,” he said.
Sabbir was perhaps expected to take on more responsibility with the ‘Big Five’s’ career closer to the end than the beginning. He said disciplinary issues were in his past now and he just needed some ‘luck’ to get back amongst the runs.
Once considered a T20 specialist, he could return once more to the T20 fold, but the inconsistent performances over the last few years means the faith already shown in him is yet to bear fruit.