Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Updated: Monday, October 20, 2003
Glory days of MMTT gone?

Rafiq Ahmed
Alas, the glory days of MMTT (Manju, Mashrafee, Tapash, Talha) seem to be gone before they young guns even got started as a unit. Heralded on this Board as our explosive future pace quartet just 12 months ago, the core of this group seems have been dismantled without sufficient cause.

First to go was Manjurul Islam, who ironically introduced himself in the World Cup video introductions as our left-arm "opening bowler". Known for his ability to contain in an era when taking wickets was just a dream, Manju has recently been branded a dinosaur - unable to take wickets, and accused of negative bowling outside the offstump. Instead of taking the still-young pacer and teaching him new tricks, the braintrust decided his experience was expendable.

Next to go was Talha Jubair. Jettisoned from the national squad after teenage nerves redcued him to spells of wayward wides in the World Cup, Talha was sent off to the age group squads to work his way back. What better stage to make a comeback than the U-19 World Cup at home this winter? Yet, without warning, the U-19 selectors left Talha out of the team to tour Pakistan, casting a huge question mark over their plans to use him at all in the World Cup, and Talha's future in general.

Now, amidst a swirl of new interest in U-19 players Aftab Ahmed, Enamul Haque and Nafees Iqbal, it seems that a third member of MMTT will also lose his place on the squad. If rumours are indeed true, then Tapash Baisya will lose his place to spinner Enamul Haque, but in reality it will have been to accomodate a paceless and useless cricketer from Bangladesh's questionable past, Mushfiq Rahman Babu. Tapash had just returned from a successful tour of Pakistan, taking wickets in both one day and test matches. That Mushfiq-for-Tapash can even be considered shows that the clueless selection process in Bangladesh cricket is very much still alive.

And lastly, there is Mashrafee. The Great Bangladeshi Hope, "Masri", as he is called on this board, is unlikely to make major impact on the dead South Asian tracks. One wonders if he will be selectively chosen based on the wicket after one or two more subpar performances.

The fact is MMTT never played as one unit in any game for Bangladesh. Fans were just dreaming up the probablity of our own version of one of cricket's most glamorous combinations - 4 lethal pacers operating in tandem. In reality, with our improving spin resources, 4 pacers at one time is highly unlikely on even the fastest wickets. But that these 4 would not even be on a Bangladesh 15 man squad before 2003 ended was unthinkable at the beginning of this year.

That members of MMTT would be replaced by the likes of Mushfiq Babu, if that is indeed the case, is just criminal. All young cricketers in Bangladesh should be handled with care - not just the 11 who can play at any given time.