February 02, 1987, Meherpur, Khulna
Left hand bat
Slow left arm orthodox
Imrul Kayes is one half of Bangladesh's most successful opening partnership in Tests and ODIs. The other half is Tamim Iqbal, their most prolific opener. The pair holds the world record for the highest second-innings opening stand in Test cricket, which they achieved against Pakistan in 2015, when they stitched together 312, breaking a 55-year record set by Colin Cowdrey and Geoff Pullar in 1960.
What had made Imrul's 150 in that game more special was that he had kept wicket in place of Mushfiqur Rahim for 83 overs. But that hasn't changed the fact that Imrul has always had a tough time holding down his place in the Bangladesh side. In fact, in his first ten years in international cricket, he has missed more ODIs than he has played, and despite being more consistent than many of Tamim's partners, he has been easily dropped in Tests too.
Imrul started his international career in 2008, on the back of big domestic runs, and within two years, topped Bangladesh's ODI charts with 867 runs in 2010. He won Player-of-the-Match awards in Bangladesh's 2011 World Cup campaign, but by 2012, had lost his place again.
He then became a Test regular in 2014 and 2015, and by 2016, coach Chandika Hathurusingha had given him some direction in ODI cricket. That helped Imrul score his second century in the format against England.
After another up-and-down year in 2017, and similar form for much of 2018, Imrul was drafted into the Bangladesh team in the middle of the Asia Cup. After a match-winning effort against Afghanistan in a crucial game, Imrul made 349 runs, with two centuries and a fifty, against Zimbabwe in October. It was just 11 runs short of Babar Azam's world-record aggregate for a three-match ODI series.
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