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Old July 14, 2009, 04:01 AM
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Sohel Sohel is offline
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Quote:
... The Windies batsmen exposed their vulnerability to quality spin in the process, and the desirable inclusion of Enamul Haque for Bangladesh in the next test match would add to that vulnerability. Haque, a young man with several points to prove, will put his gracious hosts at the wrong end of a series sweep. Not a good prognosis for West Indian cricket, but a great one for its unheralded guests from Bangladesh, especially under the leadership of their accidental new Skipper.

Shakib Al Hasan had his baptism by fire after Captain and pace spearhead Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was sidelined nursing an alarming injury. Assisted by Mohammad Ashraful, the former skipper, during the initially difficult moments, he found his depth quickly, and generated the sort of unit cohesion needed to bowl West Indies out in the second innings to win the match.

The smiling assassin from Magura in Southern Bangladesh led from the front with aggressive field setting and even more aggressive, focused, and well-scripted deliveries over an epic spell. As a direct consequence of Al Hasan’s actions, his bowlers, the slow bowlers in particular, found the inspiration to match his quality and intent. Their combined ability to bowl in the right areas using the good-enough turn and drift offered by the conditions in the day of days, proved simply too lethal for West Indian batters.

The tireless Al Hasan’s persistent pressure from one end generated equally positive opportunities at the other, in particular for an eager and lethal Mohammad Mahmudullah, and after Mohammad Ashraful provided another breakthrough in his effective cameo, the last pack of Windies batters returned to their dressing room until nobody could come out of there.

Al Hasan’s 3 for 39 from 28.1 overs in the innings, and 2 for 76 from 36 overs in the first, do not do justice to his remarkable performance as acting Skipper and strike bowler, or his phenomenal ability to learn quickly and apply what he has learned with decisive precision. Improvising when necessary with artful subtlety, all for the sake of the team he must lead at this young age.

So all was right in the world when this unassuming young Tiger with fangs and claws as sharp as his mind took the final West Indian wicket. His sweet and humble presence off the field perfectly compliments his passionate love of the game on it, and conceals his ferocity to his teams benefit.

With his quietly steely resolve, he confronts, he adapts, he overcomes and more often than not he, delivers with unbridled joy. Bangladesh has found its first great captain in Mortaza’s unfortunate absence. Just watch and marvel as he grows into the role ordained for him from above.

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