ICC Under-19 World Cup 2012 August 27, 2012

Anamul Haque gives Bangladesh a reason to smile

Anamul Haque lit up Bangladesh's failed campaign by finishing as the tournament's leading run-getter. With a promising future at stake, he should ensure his fortunes don't mirror some of his predecessors

Bangladesh's seventh-place finish in the ICC Under-19 World Cup may sound unflattering, but that too was unlikely until Anamul Haque was installed as captain in what was a last-minute decision. He went on to become the tournament's highest run-getter with two centuries, both having a major say in the team's outcome.

In the first game against Sri Lanka, Anamul counter-attacked effectively in a big partnership with Asif Ahmed. His 101 off 127 balls ensured a big total, which was enough to put them on course to a quarter-finals place. Anamul's scores in the next three games weren't flattering, but he finished the tournament with a fifty against England and his second ton, against Pakistan. He was dreading returning home "empty-handed", so the 112-ball 128 was exactly what he was hoping for.

"The first hundred [against Sri Lanka] was just what was needed to start the tournament. It put us on the right track. But then I had an ordinary time for a while so I was hoping to finish the tournament with a win, something for the long ride back," Anamul told ESPNcricinfo. "I didn't want to return home empty-handed and since Pakistan were also up for it, I really enjoyed the knock. To top it off I got two Man-of-the-Match awards, so from a personal point of view it was a good tour.

"It was a target of sorts, so I'm happy to have taken the opportunity. It is a great honor to be the highest scorer."

Anamul was handed the opportunity after Bangladesh crashed out of the Under-19 Asia Cup. He was brought back after touring Zimbabwe with the senior side for the Twenty20 tri-series. His aggregate of just 16 runs from three matches in Harare showed that he wasn't quite ready for top-level cricket. It appeared like muddled decision-making from the cricket board, but ultimately, returning to U-19 cricket was a good learning experience for the young right-hander.

"I was never negative about going back (to playing for the Under-19s). I wanted to give an exceptional performance instead, making runs is important in whatever level you play," he said.

The World Cup also ended up testing Anamul's character, none more so than the 'Mankading' incident in the quarter-final against Australia where he didn't withdraw an appeal after Soumya Sarkar ran out Jimmy Peirson who was outside the non-striker's crease. Anamul had his reasons: defending a small total (171), Bangladesh took three quick wickets and with the run-out, it reduced Australia to 33 for 4.

"As soon as Soumya (Sarkar) made the run-out, I knew that they would be 30-odd for four. Bear in mind we were defending a small total, so I had to be the bad guy. I know it wouldn't look good but it was within the rules, so I persisted.

"I thought that if we could pull off a win, all would be forgotten. But there was a lot of talk about it later on," Anamul said.

Despite the frustration of a quarter-final loss and ordinary performances from the bowlers, Anamul joined the likes of Graeme Smith and Chris Gayle to finish as the tournament's top run-getter. While these modern-day superstars should inspire him to work on a career that would give him "10 to 15 years at the top", he should be mindful of the cautionary tales at home.

In previous World Cup campaigns, Bangladesh batsmen who finished as the leading run-getters had careers that ended swiftly, without making much noise. While Al-Shahriar (1998), Aftab Ahmed (2002), Nafees Iqbal (2004) and Mehrab Hossain Jnr (2006) played in the senior side, the likes of Nahidul Islam (2002) and Ashraful Hossain (2008) are no longer in the scene, unable to handle the pressure that came with early recognition.

This second chance for Anamul is a blessing that many cricketers in Bangladesh don't get. By the looks of his hunger for hundreds, the signs are encouraging, for now.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Bangladesh

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Masnoon on August 30, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    Anamul Haque, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar are extremely promising youngsters and likely to be preeminent figures for not only Bangladesh but world cricket. Even though I'm not against their early debut in International cricket, but I think they should be kept away from playing excessive t20s, since it will spoil their potentiality of becoming genuine test cricketers.

  • Andrew on August 29, 2012, 6:35 GMT

    @MNHasan - I think Anamul is a valuable asset for Bangladesh that needs to be nutured. So that is why I'd prefer him to be eased into the national set up. I definately would avoid playing him in T20s where possible. He needs to be playing in the domestic FC competition & it would be good for him, if he can play a short term stint in maybe a county 2nd XI or minor Leagues for experience. I would hate to see him be rushed into the side & underperform, he almost certainly would do better than some batsmen in the team as is. THat said, Bangladesh is slowly assembling a good (albeit young) side. Tamim, Mahmudullah., Shakib, Nasir & Rahim are the nucleus of a good top 7. I have more worries about finding a pace bowler as good as Mortaza, maybe Bangladesh should do what England does & poach a player like Hamid Hassan!!!!

  • Subash on August 28, 2012, 22:40 GMT

    Well done BNG. Anamul has a great future. I hope BD grooms him well. All these U19 stars should be sent to play county cricket in ENG to improve their skills.

  • Harmon on August 28, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    Hang on, do I read it right that Sri Lanka lost to BD in the U-19 WC too? This shows that BD's future is bright but shows the abysmal level of cricket in Sri Lanka whose senior team has a phenomenal record otherwise. The Lankans tend to jump a lot when they manage to tie a game against India due to umpire's calculation error so what do they have to say for this loss now? Looking at Anamul's stats he should have been the Player of the Tournament.

  • Rahul on August 28, 2012, 18:45 GMT

    BD perform very well but srilanka being one of Asian giant knocked out of first round

  • Sami on August 28, 2012, 17:30 GMT

    Its amazing that some of the Non-Bangla Cricket fans are making silly excuses about where Anamul scored his runs or got his hundreds because the fact of the matter is that he got most of those runs against opposition considered much better than Bangladesh in alien conditions to him. No need to be jealous guys just accept the players performances.

  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    i was very surprise to hear he couldn't get man of the tournament trophy.... I think its a wrong decision.... Best of luck Anamul

  • Sri Hari on August 28, 2012, 15:51 GMT

    @i_amVIVA...I am pretty sure Anamul made those scores in Endeavour Park, Townsville and not in Tony Ireland stadium, Townsville where batting was consiferably more difficult. Not to take anything away from Anamul but chapatishot was correct.

  • Tanvirul hoque on August 28, 2012, 14:26 GMT

    Deadwood-->But 1 or 2 player aged above 19 can play at U-19. . . !!! Dockrell(ire) also played. . . So that's not a problem. . . MNHasan-->performing in front of a packed ground with pressure,that's a whole new game. . . . & don't u think IMRUL,NAZIMUDDIN(who has played most number of fc matches),JUNAYED,JAHURUL co. deserve more chances???? & did u forgot that Minus Anamul BD U-19 lost to AFGAN in U-19 asia cup!!! & yes against WI they can try but above mentioned players should also be given chances. . .& in the mean time Anamul can lead his U19 side against SA U19/AUS U19 if possible. . it all depends ön the BCB! But whatever happens let's hope he'll be able to deliver when needed. . .

    & we all know at U19 LEVEL BD's record is very good . . . .

  • Sri Hari on August 28, 2012, 14:06 GMT

    @ i_amVIVA...slight correction for you too sir!...Anamul made those scores in Endeavour Park, Townsville and not in Tony Ireland stadium,Townsville where generally batting was very difficult. Though take nothing away from his achivements but chapathishot was right.

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