Mosharraf's chance to make positive headlines

Left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain (second from right) has the weight of domestic performances behind him BCB

For domestic heavyweight Mosharraf Hossain to return to the Bangladesh ODI squad, it needed a by-chance intervention from Venkatapathy Raju.

The former India spinner was in Dhaka to conduct a ten-day spin bowling camp in mid-August. After watching left-arm spinner Mosharraf, Raju spoke about him to Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, who brought him into the preliminary squad midway into its pre-season training camp. In less than a month, he is in line to play international cricket after eight years.

"[Venkatapathy] Raju said I have variation and extra bounce," Mosharraf told ESPNcricinfo after joining the preliminary squad. "It gave me confidence. In our country, there is more emphasis on the negative parts of a cricketer. You can even find fault in [Muttiah] Muralitharan if you are looking for it. They look for problems here. But there is about 90% positive in a cricketer. Raju focused on the things that work in my bowling. He said that I have a good overall record. He said I was unlucky and that I should be playing [at the top level]. "

For someone who has taken more than 300 first-class wickets, been a proven match-winner in the Dhaka Premier League, and the Man of the Match in a Bangladesh Premier League final, this was just reward, but perhaps a bit of luck was at play too: here was someone who couldn't break into the national team for a long time despite being a regular top performer in domestic cricket, but he gets unexpectedly and immediately called up on the word of a foreign coach visiting on a brief stint. Then again, Mosharraf's career had already been marked by misfortune, with two major incidents almost derailing it.

The first was a few months after his international debut in 2008, when he joined the now-defunct rebel Indian Cricket League as part of the Dhaka Warriors team. Mosharraf, 26 at the time, was among the defecting players banned for ten years by the BCB; the following year, after they had quit the league, they were given indemnity.

Mosharraf said had he foreseen the backlash from the BCB, media and fans, he wouldn't have gone to the ICL. "I was quite young when I went to play in the ICL. The contract with them was that we would play two tournaments per year, and we were free to play everything else for the rest of the time. I thought it was a good offer, but when we arrived in India, the scenario had changed [back in Bangladesh].

"The reaction was such that we felt that we were in trouble. We didn't think at first that we would be cornered but I would call it bad luck. If I had known this would have been the situation, I wouldn't have gone."

"If a player has fitness and performance, then those should be given priority. A much older player like Misbah-ul-Haq is doing so well while another who comes from the Under-19s into the national team can fail."

Then there was the second major incident: when he was caught up in the BPL corruption investigation in 2013. He was provisionally banned for eight months, before the investigating tribunal announced that he was not guilty of any wrongdoing and the ban was lifted.

"This was also bad luck," Mosharraf said. "I don't think about it anymore. I was just playing a game and then few months later I heard it became a major issue."

It was likely clouded decision-making on his part that led to the defection to the ICL, and a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time in the BPL 2013, but now Mosharraf gets another chance on the back of his consistency with bat and ball.

After completing the camp under Raju, he had gone on a holiday to India with his wife when the call came. Within a day of his arrival, he was asked to return to Dhaka quickly and join the preliminary squad camp.

"They don't usually call up a player in the middle of a camp, so I was happier. I was in India when selector Sumon bhai [Habibul Bashar] got in touch with me through my [journalist] friend Zahid Chowdhury. He said I have to join the Bangladesh camp.

"There were no air tickets, all of which seemed to be booked till August 30. I took a taxi from Kolkata to the border in Benapole. The situation was quite difficult but when they recognised me, they helped me get through immigration quickly. Then I took another taxi till Jessore, from where I caught a flight to Dhaka the next morning and joined training that day."

Mosharraf's domestic numbers back up the call. In the recently concluded Dhaka Premier League one-day tournament, he took 12 wickets and scored 350 runs in 14 matches for Legends of Rupganj. This form, and not his age, Mosharraf said should be taken into account.

"I have done well on some important occasions, in the BPL final and also in the ICL where I bowled to international cricketers. I took big wickets like Inzamam-ul-Haq, Damien Martyn. I have been consistent in domestic cricket, in the National Cricket League, Bangladesh Cricket League, Dhaka Premier League and the BPL. I haven't really fallen into poor form in the domestic scene.

"Performance should always be taken into account. If a player has fitness and performance, then those should be given priority. A much older player like Misbah-ul-Haq is doing so well while another who comes from the Under-19s into the national team can fail at the highest level."

Now that he has got his chance, the in-form Mosharraf will be hoping to put the controversies behind him and make headlines for the right reasons.