Not too many cricketers faced a challenge like Nasir Hossain in their debut match. When Bangladesh were six wickets down with only 58 runs on the board, debutant Nasir rose to the challenge immediately.
He made 63 runs to win the challenge and gave the team a decent score though it could not save them from a big sever-wicket defeat against Zimbabwe in 2011.
The team ended up losing the series 3-2 but as every cloud has a silver lining they got Nasir in that series, someone who would save them from a precarious situation like this many times in future.
Over the last two years Nasir did the job with utmost sincerity and made himself an inevitable choice for all three formats. Part of the reason for Bangladesh becoming a competitive unit in one-day cricket is the presence of Nasir deep down the order.
His presence gives the top-order some confidence, which, according to a senior batsman, is always crucial to the team’s success.
‘If you know someone like Nasir will come in at number seven or eight you always feel confident. We did not have this advantage in the past, but now it is very different,’ Mohammad Ashraful said after the Test match in Galle.
Nasir proved time and again in series there was no exaggeration in Ashraful’s words. Nasir, who hit his maiden Test century in Galle, fell two runs short of a fifty in the first innings of the second Test but showed enough courage on his way to a 58-ball 73 in the first one-dayer.
He, however, perhaps reserved his best for the third one-dayer when his small but invaluable innings of 33 from 27 balls took the team to the series equalling win. His two catches in the match was another indication of how good an athlete he is.
Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim believes if Nasir can maintain his form and fitness he will one day break batting records of Bangladesh.
‘Hats off to Nasir,’ Mushfiq said after his match-winning innings on Thursday.
‘I firmly believe that he can break all batting records in the Bangladesh team if he continues in this vein. He has played really well. He does well when the team needs him to score. It is his most important trait.’
Nasir is unsure about his prospect of being a record holder but that does not necessarily gives him any concern.
‘You can’t say anything about sports,’ Nasir told reporters. ‘Even [Sachin] Tendulkar also face off-form, still I will try my best,’ said Nasir, who always loves to stay down to earth.
‘I always try to enjoy my game. It’s not very easy to bat in my place. From outside you may have seen it differently. But I don’t feel it is that difficult. I am enjoying it,’ he said.
Nasir’s style of batting often gives him an edge over the bowler. He hardly takes any pressure on him and
can rotate the strike easily. Boundaries are also not a very rare thing when he is at the crease.
His all these traits were visible in the third one-dayer in Pallekele. He came in to bat when the team still needed 64 runs from 54 balls. Someone like Nasir always excelled in similar situation but problem arose from the other end where Bangladesh were losing wickets every now and then.
The equation came down to 17 from 12 balls when Nasir finally decided to attack and he executed his plan in such a manner that Sri Lanka had no answer to it.
‘When I came in to bat there was a gap like 15 between balls and runs. I believed if our batsmen can stay until the end we will get it,’ said Nasir. ‘But I had to change the plan in the end.
‘It would have been difficult for me to hit the spinner in the last over. So I thought whatever I need to do I have to do it in this over and I charged at it.’
How often a Bangladeshi batsman can do this, it is a subject of research.
-With New Age input