Hats off to Aminul Islam
There have been very few outstanding achievemets for our players and fans in the brief history of Bagladesh cricket. Earning the test status, beating Pakistan in the 1999 world cup and winning the ICC trophy in 1996 are a few. However, even among the likes of Habibul Bashar, who has scored three centuries in tests, Mohammad Ashraful, who is the youngest test centurion in history, Javed Omar, who has carried his bat throughout an inning in a test match, and other big names such as Akram Khan, Minhajul Abedin and G.M. Nousher, one name seems to lie in a stage of uniqueness that none other has reached until now. That name is Aminul Islam, a not-more-than five feet tall man with pretty ordinary features, who holds the record for the second highest score by a batsman in the inaugural test match for his country.
It is not only the records that he possesses under his belt that makes him different from the others; in fact, it is the entire impact that he has left on the game and in the minds of Bangladeshi fans that is the main reason for making this post.
Aminul Islam is a product of our school cricket system. He made his mark in international cricket at a very early age, and quite often, at times when our batsmen were more than happy to be able to see off the opposition bowlers for the full length of the inning, irrespective of the number of runs scored, he would come in and show marks of talent that was pretty unexpected from our players at that time. The best example is his forty run inning against Australia in the Australasia cup, something that has caused the Aussies to remember him ever since.
One could argue that other cricketers of his time have similar achievements. In that case, what was, or is, so special about Aminul Islam?
Well, as mentioned earlier, it is his impact on the game and on its fans that has taken him to an unreachable height. He may not be required to play for the national team anymore, but there was a period of time, and quite a long one too, when small kids all around the country used to look up to him. Everyone wanted to be like "Bulbul". The way he looked at the game impressed commentators, players and fans all over the world. His knowledge of cricket is also awesome, earned from enthusiastic reading. He always believed in the saying "Form is temporary, but class is permanent". This has turned out to be true in his case.
Watching Bangladeshi sportsmen in commercials is a very seldom occurrence. Most of the time, it is models and actors who take up the position. This is another area where Aminul is unique. His appearance in quite a few TV commercials proves his popularity. Those commercials were not just regular advertisements that were meant to bring some revenue to the respective companies. They served more than that. They acted as incentives to many youngsters to take up cricket as a career.
Overall, Aminul's elegant late cut, his classic paddle sweep, intense concentration and ability to stick to the wicket gave our fans, especially our youngsters, something to dream about - a very rare opportunity in a country struck by floods, political unrest, corruption and poverty. Not only did he bring us fame from various corners of the world, but he also won the hearts of many people, both at home and overseas. His century in our first test match was a great achievement, and yet only an addition to all that he had accomplished in his career, and all that he had given us.
I was wondering what you guys think about him. I was also wondering whether it would be a good idea to bring him to this forum to post comments from an expert's point of view. Bringing in players like him and Athar, who have a vast knowledge and understanding of the game would really be great.