When Mohammed Sharif Was Unknown…

Shahryar Khan

June 9, 2001

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The name of Mohammed Sharif was quite alien to the viewers of Bangladesh. He came into sight after his stupendous performance in the Green Delta National League 2000-2001 when he listed 49 wickets besides his name-the second highest wicket taker. Few days ago I came to know from a renowned sports periodical that one Mr. Nasiruddin, from Matlab, a village of the district of Chandpur, had the good fortune to be in the field in a local match where he acted as an umpire. He was fortunate because star cricketer Mohammed Sharif played that match. But it was back in 1997 and Sharif, at that time was an unknown cricketer who used to accept proposals to play as a hired man. This event took place in Chandpur where two minor clubs were rivaling each otherone of them hired Sharif and won the match by dint of his scintillating performance. A blasting knock of 48 off 24 balls with three wickets taken giving away minimal runs-were enough to outdo the opponents. Sharif's side won the match and eventually he was declared as the man-of-the-match. Sharif commended over Nasiruddin's umpiring skill.

Now in 2001, Nasiruddin recollects his sweet memories when he sees the brat bowling frontline with Manjurul against Zimbabwe-thinking this is the bowler once he saw in a minor match in a suburban township. Now that Sharif is picking praise from celebrities like Botham or Amir Sohail far away from his home. Really an unforgettable episode in the life of Nasiruddin, Isn't it?

Mohammed Sharif still lives with his parents in Narayanganj, a district town about twenty kilometers away from Dhaka. He has to follow a very hard routine-being three days in BKSP for practice session and three days in his hometown for workouts. The Asian Test Championship is not that far and there are bowlers like Bikash , Hasibul or Taposh are waiting. Sharif will have to fight hard with them to hang on to the squad. So, an arduous road is ahead of Sharif where there is no occasion for relaxing; except the single day in the week he spends with family members.

Thinking Bikash is a real threat to his position, Sharif reveals that he has all kinds of respect for Bikash Bhai who is undoubtedly one of the best bowlers of Bangladesh. They all are competitors but the competition is healthy. To-day cricket has risen to a level where fitness is emphasized more than anything. Sharif agrees-yes, it's the time of power cricket and the gym workouts are inevitable. He had a first hand experience from his fresh visit from Zimbabwe where he noted that the hosts were physically more robust and fit as well than Bangladeshis. If we want to do better in future, we have to have a chiseled shape. Survival for the fittest! No doubt!

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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