Mohammad Javed Omar Belim
November 25, 1976, Dhaka
Also Known As
Right hand bat
Not many realise that this underrated opener was the first batsman in the new millennium to carry his bat through an entire Test innings. Javed Omar is also the only Bangladeshi to have done so, in the country's first overseas Test, against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 2001. The feat reflects patience and perseverance at the wicket, an element that often went missing for Bangladeshi openers in the first decade of being an elite cricket nation. But the man affectionately known as Golla was never a popular choice: he was maligned as being too slow and dour with his batting, but often did the job that was required of him - see off the new-ball and stabilise the top-order.
Hailing from Bakshi Bazar in Old Dhaka, Omar grew up in a family where cricket and football ruled conversations. He preferred the cricket bat and ball, bowling leg-breaks and smashing cuts to the fence, and soon became a regular in the club cricket scene in the early 1990s. One-day cricket never suited Javed, whose batting was of the Trevor Bailey class in obduracy. When Test cricket came around, he wasn't the first-choice opener, with the more fluent but flaky Shahriar Hossain and Mehrab Hossain debuting before him. But his turn came in 2001 when he batted out Bangladesh's second innings in Bulayawo, making an unbeaten 85 after a slower half-century in the first innings.
A strong back-foot player with the knack of swiftly hacking and cutting anything short and wide, Javed was slow at building his innings but that was exactly what Bangladesh needed when they looked soft in the early days of Test cricket. His only Test century was a score of 119 against Pakistan in 2003, which gave Bangladesh their first first-innings lead in Tests. The innings came at the back of some low scores that had put him under pressure for a Test place.
He had four other Test fifties in Chittagong against Zimbabwe, South Africa, New Zealand and India, and also scored a gutsy 71 against England in Chester-Le-Street during the 2005 tour. He was the only Bangladesh batsman who understood the early summer conditions and made double-digit scores in all four innings.
Despite his shortcomings in one-day cricket, Javed managed ten half-centuries, including a sedate 81 off 150 balls against England at Headingley in 2005. He had played enough international cricket to come up with a faster 80 off 117 in 2007 against India just after the World Cup, during which he filled in for the out-of-form Shahriar Nafees in the opening position.
He ended his international career after playing against Sri Lanka that year, unable to earn a position in the subsequent series due to his inability to keep up with the pace of one-day cricket. He has since refused to retire, saying that it is the norm for cricketers in the country to battle on. He has played first-class and club cricket in 2011-12, lengthening a career that started in the early 1990s.
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