Naeem Islam brought to notice his staying power on the opening day of the practice four-dayer between BCB Red and BCB Green yesterday.
The 24-year-old batted out virtually the entire day, remaining unbeaten on 95 runs. BCB Green were 254 for six at stumps after Shahriar Nafees had opted to bat first on a largely slow surface at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, where only Naeem and Mominul Haque thrived, sharing a 126-run sixth wicket stand.
But the toss was Nafees’s only positive as he fell to Shafiul Islam off the day’s first ball, edging a good away-going delivery to his opposite number Mushfiqur Rahim. In the fifth over, Junaed Siddiqui gave the Bogra paceman his second wicket when the left-hander gave Nasir Hossain a catch at third slip and in the next over, Sahagir Hossain too gave a catch behind the wicket, edging to Imrul Kayes at second slip off Rubel Hossain.
Alok Kapali helped Naeem keep wickets intact till the lunch session after which the Sylhet batsman fell to his own trap. During his 66-ball stay, Kapali struck four well-timed boundaries but when facing the left-arm spinners, he stayed back. Eventually, he was trapped leg-before just after lunch but not to one of the front-liners as Nazmul Hossain Apu had him plumb in front for 29.
Rokibul Hasan couldn’t make an impact and it was down to Mominul, a late replacement who was hauled in from the GP-BCB National Cricket Academy after Nur Hossain Munna injured his hand during warm-up.
The left-hander’s boundary-laden 72 off 89 balls brought life to the day’s play, hitting eight fours and three sixes, one of them a huge hit over wide long-off as he reached his half-century off just 60 balls.
Naeem continued to hold anchor, hitting boundaries from time to time but keeping the ball along the ground at most times. While some might say it was a negative approach to play out so many dot balls, it is still pleasing to the eye given the lack of such patient men in the middle.
A Test place is not a guarantee for the right-hander who held fort at No 4 yesterday, but his innings provided an option for the selection committee who are always keen on middle-order batsmen.
Naeem couldn’t reach his century on the day as Mominul fell in the final half-hour to pacer Rubel and Elias Sunny held fort for the remaining overs, unbeaten on five.
BCB GREEN: First innings 254-6 in 90 overs (Naeem 95 not out, Mominul 72; Shafiul 2-33, Rubel 2-50).
-With The Daily Star input