Every time Mustafiz bowls a good spell with deliveries fizzing past the bat and troubling the batsmen, the whole nation starts chanting our old Fizz is back; every time Mushfiq plays a blinder as a keeper, people start believing his woes behind the stumps have come to an end.
When Liton scored a gusty hundred against India in the Asia Cup 2018 final, the whole nation thought we had found our big match performer; when Sabbir Rahman scored a 54-ball 80 against Sri Lanka in Asia Cup 2016, he was tipped to be Bangladesh’s own version of Maxwell.
When Jubair Hossain Likhon went through the gate of Virat Kohli in 2014 or when Aminul Islam Biplob burst onto the scene with a few important scalps against the same opponent in 2019, it was thought that this barren land of leg-spinners had finally reaped the harvest. Even Bangladesh were in a state of euphoria a few days ago when Nazmul Hossain Shanto scored his maiden test ton against Sri Lanka.
Such has been the tradition of overexcitement in the country’s cricketing scene that when Soumya and Mithun, after frequently failing to perform, scored just a half century each against New Zealand, many found a funny side of it saying that these two have cemented their slots in the national team for a couple more years, courtesy of those innings.
Mustafiz has still remained only a shadow of his prime time. Mushfiq’s keeping hasn’t been solid. Barring the exception of his loads of runs against Zimbabwe, Liton Das does not have any numbers worth looking at in his limited over stats. Sabbir Rahman has lost his position from the national side.
Bangladesh’s search for leg-spinners is yet to find a permanent result. Neither Soumya nor Mithun has shown much reliability, while Shanto’s so-called consistency has had him score a pair of ducks after that ton, clearly showing that things are not falling into place consistently up to the mark.
Hard work on and off the field, positivity in approach, determination to improve, clarity of thought, etc., are some of many features that shape the betterment and longevity of a player at the international level. These aspects are not always reflected in the scorecard or bowling figures.
However, more often than not, a player is here judged on the basis of the numbers written in the scorecard, not focusing on the characteristics that determine whether the player is a one-season wonder or he has the ability to solve a problem for his side for a longer period of time.
Therefore, Bangladesh ends up retaining the talents hoping that those will one day reap results. The way Bangladesh persists with players who have a prolonged display of inconsistency shows nothing but the weakness of our judging and selection system.
One might argue if the selectors believe that a certain player is good enough to serve the national team for a long period, that player must be provided with enough opportunities to prove his worth before drawing a conclusion on the basis of some early failure.
This argument is cent percent valid for Shanto, a potential talent who is fresh in the international arena, while it is time to consider whether such argument holds water at all for players like Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das and Mohammad Mithun, who have been representing the country for more than five-six years now.
All in all, a slight change in our judging and selection system is an ardent need for Bangladesh cricket.
The writer is currently studying at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka (IBA-DU). Email: [email protected]