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Mohammad Isam in Fatullah
November 4, 2013
Probably for the first time in his career, Shamsur Rahman, the Bangladesh batsman, didn't feel worried in the nineties. He moved from 91 to 95 with a slog over mid-on that he hit on one knee, and on 96, he tried to mow Corey Anderson over cover. The ball took the edge, though, and he walked away, not feeling too bad because it did not take away from the fact that his 96 was extremely useful to Bangladesh's cause.
Bangladesh's latest performer against New Zealand has had to wait a long time since making his first-class debut in 2005. Shamsur has been a highly sought after top-order batsman in one-day club cricket, where he said he did become nervous at times while batting in the nineties.
"Actually, this is the first time that I did not become nervous in the nineties," Shamsur said. "I was just trying to play my own game because if I thought about the hundred then maybe I would have played a few dot balls.
"My first thought was to get the team as close to the target as possible. It was hard luck. In the Dhaka league I get very nervous in the nineties though, even in first-class cricket."
Shamsur's talent was never questioned as he progressed from age group to first-class and club cricket, but whether he had the hunger and mental strength was always a concern. His innings, however, showed the advantage of picking a proven domestic player, one who has faced a lot of tough situations already.
It helped him start a 300-plus chase with Ziaur Rahman, another inexperienced international player who has spent considerable time as an opener in domestic cricket. "The domestic experience is obviously helpful," Shamsur said. "We were very positive walking to the wicket. We were given license to be ourselves and bat positively.
"We wanted to play freely in the first Powerplay because we had the likes of Mushfiqur [Rahim] and Nasir [Hossain] behind us. We knew that we could come back well in the match if something happened."
Before the series started, he had talked to some coaches and players about handling pressure at this level, and has looked promising after a nervous 25 on ODI debut. In the third match, he looked like a batsman who knew how to prolong an innings after a good start.
"At any level, when you score your confidence level improves. I am very lucky that I scored in the second match, and as far as I can continue this will be good for Bangladesh.
"We played according to the merit of the ball. A score like 307 is not a big deal for us now. The wicket was very true for batting, so we all knew if we had good partnerships, we could win this match."
Shamsur had been selected in the 2009 World Twenty20 squad, but wasn't picked for any of Bangladesh's matches. He privately told his friends that until he batted in a certain way, coaches at the time wouldn't pick him. That has perhaps changed within the Bangladesh team and foreign coaches are far more accepting of technical issues and playing styles.
Shamsur has benefited but his main target now should be to nail down the spot next to Tamim Iqbal in the line-up. Anamul Haque has now fallen in the pecking order, and Shamsur has the opportunity to cement his place.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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