Bangladesh v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Mirpur December 3, 2011

Nasir's temperament the tonic for Bangladesh

He adjusts to situations, loves playing under pressure and has a spontaneous, jovial nature that could cheer up Mushfiqur Rahim's gloomy dressing-room

When Akram Khan, Bangladesh's chief selector, picked young allrounder Nasir Hossain for the Zimbabwe tour in August this year, he had said Nasir had a fine temperament. "There's no one way that he bats. He plays according to the situation, whether it is to hold the innings together or push for late runs," Akram had said.

Nasir, who just turned 20, showed both facets of his game while compiling his maiden one-day international century. He came in with Bangladesh struggling at 19 for 4 and said he enjoys batting his way out of tough situations. "I really enjoy batting when the team is under pressure," Nasir said. "When four or five wickets are down, I love batting in those situations. I really don't know why but I really enjoy it."

The match had ended as a contest when Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bangladesh captain, sliced an Umar Gul delivery straight to gully to be the fourth wicket to fall by the tenth over of the chase. The capacity crowd at the Shere Bangla National Stadium was witness to yet another top-order disintegration from the home side.

But Nasir, along with Shakib Al Hasan, at least gave them something to cheer about, lending the innings some respectability with a 106-run fifth-wicket stand. After Shakib's tame dismissal, Nasir added 60 more with vice-captain Mahmudullah for the sixth wicket. During the partnership, Nasir moved closer to a century, and it was two unlikely sources that pushed him to go for the three-figure mark.

"First Younis [Khan] bhai, and then Umar Akmal told me to go for the hundred when I was around 75. That's when I decided to go for the century because till then I was trying to bat out the 50 overs," Nasir said.

Nasir was in a lively mood while describing the moment he got to the century at the post-match press conference. "I thought I was on 98 when I had actually reached the century. [Mahmudullah] Riyad bhai told me that I had reached the century. So I asked him, 'How should I raise the bat?' He told me to just raise it."

He realised his century did not mean much in the context of the match, which Bangladesh lost by 76 runs thereby going down 0-2 in the three-match series, but said he hoped his performance could motivate his team-mates. "I am the junior-most member of the team. So if the senior guys see that I am doing well, they will think 'if he can do it, so can I'. It is a matter of confidence. I started off slowly. You'll see that I got the first 30-odd runs from 80 balls but then I accelerated.

The naturalness of Nasir's answers at the press conference was a perfect reflection of his character, as anyone who has spent time with him in an adda (hangout) would agree. He is best described as spontaneous, just like his wicket celebrations. When asked why he celebrated in a manner similar to some professional wrestlers from the WWE, he said that he would stop it for the "greater good of the country". Even his send-off to Imran Farhat during the first ODI was a spur-of-the-moment reaction. It is his spontaneity, perhaps, that allows Nasir to adapt to situations the way Akram had said he could.

His half-century on ODI debut came in similar circumstances. Bangladesh were in deep trouble at 58 for 6 against Zimbabwe in Harare when he calmly marshalled the tail while also putting away the bad balls. His run-a-ball 50 against West Indies in Mirpur last month also came after Bangladesh got off to a poor start; there, as well, he started slowly before accelerating in the slog overs.

Nasir's upbringing tells you a lot about his character. He was raised in Rangpur, in the northern reaches of Bangladesh, left home in his early teens and came to play in Dhaka for BKSP, helping the sports institute get into Dhaka's Premier League. He quickly became a dependable force, prompting giants Abahani Club to sign him very early. His offspin with the new ball caught everyone's eye, and he showed off his temperament when he famously restricted Sanath Jayasuriya, the former Sri Lanka star batsman, from blazing away in a league game.

That temperament helped Nasir get his maiden international century at a time when all the noise around Bangladesh cricket has been negative. It could perhaps be his happy-go-lucky demeanour that sparks a turnaround in Mushfiqur Rahim's gloomy dressing-room.

Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kas on December 5, 2011, 19:37 GMT

    At first I honestly use to think that I'm jinxing BD, coz everytime I make the effort to watch their games I'm always use to seeing them get thrashed by everyone even Ireland & Zim. But this time I haven't watched a single BD game since the World Cup and still their getting minnow bashed by everyone. To be honest I'v come to a point where I stopped caring and quite happy not to even bother. Don't mind checking the score on my favorite site Cric info. All these negative comments made by some of the Indians are actually justified. BD team/selectors/BCB, the whole lot are useless and pathetic. Nasir is good, his patience is completely not of BD's mentality and I think he will go a long way if the board & media doesnt over-hype and over pump him. As a die hard loyal BD fan, my request to ICC will be to remove BD from their current status & only allow them to play Kenya, Canada & Bermuda. We're all sick of this team & have had enough. Thank you!!!!

  • Dummy4 on December 5, 2011, 13:17 GMT


  • Rizwan on December 5, 2011, 8:59 GMT

    Nice! BD lost the game by such a big margin, in their own backyard, here fans are getting proud of this innings of Nasir. We aren't bothered that the batting was pathetic, our bowlers failed to keep the pressure on, the team is consistently performing below standard.

  • Javed on December 5, 2011, 2:33 GMT

    I think, it's time to get rid off Tamim, Imrul and Nafees. Team needs to find some good young player like Nasir Hossain. Bangladesh needs to play with at least 5 specialist batsman. Selectors, please find some batsman, not alrounders.

  • Dummy4 on December 4, 2011, 23:17 GMT

    well done nasir.please brink back aftab ahmed in the place of shahriar and in place of imrul kayes bd team needs nazimuddin(who has around 40 ave. in domestic.and also has a decent record at international stage)

  • O on December 4, 2011, 16:19 GMT

    Bravo & congrats to Nasir!!! A very well played & gutsy innings from a young star & that too under an extremely negative situation. Greatly appreciate the temperament.

    Now, BD management & senior players should be very careful while helping to nurture this talented player. BD already has several examples of over pampered talents by the media & management & later got arrogant, lazy & loss of talent. BD team needs to carefully reorganize the batting orders which will produce much better show. Need to groom up a brand new opener from the age group. May play Nasir at #3. Bring Imrul down the order at #5 as he is patient & can bat long hours. He is just not being able to face the fast new ball at the moment but have talent & experience. BD management has not been able to establish a solid process for the young stars to come & mature in international cricket. Even though it has abundance of natural talents around the country. ICC can actively help BD in nurturing upcoming young talents.

  • Avais on December 4, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    I was watching the game and was thinking what this guy Nasir was doing. He, at no point, tried to win the game, kept playing selfish slow game, didn't care about mounting asking run rate, played few shots when he crossed 50 and team had no chance of getting even close to the target but he cemented his place for next game. It was a useless and selfish century, no use for the team. He lost the game, should not be given man of the match prize. Hafeez was the match winner with awesome figure of 2-15 in 10 over, deserved MOM but denied.

  • Dummy4 on December 4, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    Good work by this young fellow... !

  • John on December 4, 2011, 13:44 GMT

    This is the first time I have ever heard of the Man of the Match award going to someone who didn't even try to win the game for his side.

  • Inazir on December 4, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    well played nasir hossain. If BD selectors make the right call and bring in the other two youngsters (asif ahmad and anamul haque) to the squad. these two are the top two run makers in this season,instead of under performing players who had so many opportunities, BD will be winning more matches against the so called top cricketing nations. (Srilankan bangla fan)

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