Qazi Habibul Bashar
August 17, 1972, Nagakanda, Kushtia
Also Known As
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
Top order batter
Impish and impulsive, Habibul Bashar has the style and strokes of a genuine Test player. Most of his runs come from cultured drives through midwicket, and most of his dismissals from a Hilditch-style addiction to the hook. Before Bangladesh's inaugural Test, 'Sumon' promised he would kick the habit, but although he made 71 and 30 he was still out hooking ... twice. But it was his enterprise in the first innings that gave the world a glimpse of what was to be expected of a Bangladesh batsman in the next decade, and he remained the most consistent one for seven years.
Bashar was the major contributor in the middle-order, quickly becoming known as Mr Fifty after making a string of half-centuries in Test cricket. In all he finished with 24, together with three centuries, the first of which came in 2001 when Bangladesh were facing a massive first-innings score by Zimbabwe. The 108 was a largely forgotten innings, but it easily showed how Bashar was the best batsman of a faltering generation of talented cricketers. His next Test ton came in 2003, against Pakistan in Karachi, and kept Bangladesh in the game, while the last century came in a well-earned draw against West Indies in Gros Islet. However, despite his attacking style he underperformed in ODIs, averaging less than 22 despite playing 111 matches.
He made an inauspicious captaincy debut with a pair in Harare in 2004 but in partnership with Dav Whatmore, he brought discipline into the Bangladesh setup, balancing extremely young players with experienced campaigners like Khaled Mashud, Khaled Mahmud and Mohammad Rafique. His greatest game as captain was the five-wicket win over Australia in an ODI in Cardiff in 2005, considered one of the greatest sporting upsets. He was also in charge when Bangladesh won their first Test (and series) - in Chittagong against Zimbabwe in 2004. He led Bangladesh during the 2007 World Cup, the country's most successful campaign in which they beat India and South Africa.
As the big runs dried up and the clamour for the removal of a non-contributing captain grew in the media, Bashar was replaced by Mohammad Ashraful in 2007.
He later joined the rebel Indian Cricket League, shaking Bangladesh cricket to its core in 2008, but he was rehabilitated; in 2011, he was appointed as one of three national selectors.
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