Mahmudul Hasan Joy is especial

Tofael Mahmud | Monday, 4 April 2022

Records tumbled as Mahmudul Hasan Joy finished his innings on 137 off 326 balls on the third day of the Durban Test. Joy faced the first ball of the innings and the last ball of the innings as well which is quite unusual for a Bangladeshi opener. 

There's only one precedent of this and it was set long ago by Javed Omar. But this innings is special for many reasons and will be even more special if Bangladesh can manage to save the Test on the final day today. 

Joy showed some promises to be the solution to Bangladesh's perennial problem – a capable partner for Tamim Iqbal. 

Normally playing as a No. 3, Joy got promoted up the order and he made sure it was a justified decision. previously in New Zealand, he faced over 200 balls for his significant 78 which helped his team to record a famous win in mount Maunganui.

It was his time to show that the innings in New Zealand was not a fluke. In New Zealand, he seemed nervous while batting, which is normal for a youngster playing his first away Test. 

Against South Africa however, it was a dominant show; he seemed like a transformed batter. And what makes his transformation look special is his temperament.

As aptly put by Jamie Siddons, "There were only ten overs of new-ball bowling. But you rarely see his levels of patience from our batsmen." 

Mahmudul refrained from playing his favourite shot – the cover drive in the first half of his innings. Left plenty of balls and rarely was on the backfoot. 

While his patience is admirable, it's his shot selection that caught the eyes. Mahmudul hardly let any loose delivery go unpunished.

The best part of him probably is the game reading sense. There are plenty of occasions where he showed a level of maturity. Perhaps, the wicket too wasn’t favouring him, but the way he negotiated the spin of Harmer and Maharaj was jaw-dropping. 

More importantly, under tremendous pressure, he produced one of the most solid batting displays on South African soil by a visiting batsman. 

Joy's mental strength is exceptional and his courage to take full responsibility for batting after the fall of Miraz is unthinkable among Bangladeshi young batters. It could have been a different story had the last ball from Mulder not gone for a boundary. Yet those 20 odd runs were useful and it's incredible how he scored those. 

Nevertheless, Joy’s career is still in the beginning stage and he's yet to learn how to deal with the lows in his career, something Bangladeshi young players failed to overcome in recent times.

There's only one noticeable flaw of his batting, that's his backlift. Maharaj, being a seasoned campaigner, noticed the big gap between pad and bat, and surprised him with an arm ball in the 2nd innings.

Maharaj did his homework and Joy must come up with a solution and mustn't get carried away with the innings. He has to remember that modern-day batters are constantly studied and assessed. So he has to evolve continuously to shine. 

The writer is a final year student at the Department of Economics, University of Dhaka

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