From scepticism to top 5 in world | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 28, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:34 AM, January 28, 2021

From scepticism to top 5 in world

From a below-par performance in the first ODI against the West Indies to finishing the three-match ODI series as the leading wicket-taker and now breaking into the top five of the ICC ODI Bowling Rankings -- Mehedi Hasan Miraz has turned up and repaid the management and skipper Tamim Iqbal's faith.

The latest ODI rankings released on Wednesday saw Mehedi ranked fourth with 694 rating points. This is also the first time the right-armer has broken into the top ten of the ODI Bowling Rankings. The youngster leaped nine spots after scalping seven wickets at an average of 10.28 in three matches against the West Indies.

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"I never imagined being in the top five of the list," were the words Mehedi said upon hearing that he had attained a career-best ODI ranking.

The 23-year-old burst onto the international arena against England in a Test series in 2016 and announced himself as the next big thing in the Tigers' spin department, but a lack of impact and variation raised questions about his involvement in the team over the years.

There was discussion about dropping him from the ODI squad after a number of disappointing performances in the format over the years and those discussions gathered steam after the off-spinner returned mediocre figures of one for 29 from seven overs in the first ODI of the series.

"When I started playing Test cricket, I never considered sticking to only that format because I always wanted to play with the white-ball too. So I prepared myself mentally for that. I thought I would need to maintain a good economy rate in order to play in ODIs and would need to provide breakthroughs when the team need," explained Mehedi.

However, Mehedi is not the only Bangladeshi in the top ten. Left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman is eighth on the list with 658 rating points. Mustafizur, who did not fail to give the Tigers a breakthrough in any of the three ODIs against the Windies and ended the series with six wickets at an average of 9.83, moved 11 places up the ladder.

This, of course, is not Mustafiz's career-best ranking. The cutter master was ranked fifth in December, 2018.

Premier all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who returned in Bangladesh colours following a year-long ban imposed by the ICC in 2019 for failing to report corrupt approaches by a bookie, moved up 15 places to 13th in the list. He took six wickets at an average of 8.33 and had an economy of 2.25 in three matches against the Windies.

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