"When have you ever seen me hold a pose?"

Soumya Sarkar breaks into a smile.

"I have never held a pose while batting," he tells ESPNcricinfo. "I am not really keen on seeing myself bat. Of course, if the highlights are on, I will watch, but not because of myself."

Soumya looks a million dollars when he is in full flow. The jabs down the ground, the cracking pull shots, the scything cuts and the flowing cover drive. There's something about a tall, upright left-hander, timing the ball through the off-side, or flicking it off his pads. Somehow, he even makes well-connected slogs look pretty, even without much foot movement.

He became a left-hand batsman and a right-arm medium-pacer after his elder brother Pushpen Sarkar, a former club pro in the Dhaka leagues and now a college teacher, told him to follow Sourav Ganguly. Soumya says he doesn't quite emulate anyone's style, and has always batted this way. It was this style of batting that forced scouts to pick him in the age-group teams and the national selectors and then coach Chandika Hathurusingha to insist on his senior inclusion in late 2014.

But Soumya's career hasn't quite met expectations - which, since he's so good to watch, have always been high. He's one of only seven openers, ever, to score more than 1000 ODI runs at a strike rate of over 100, but his overall average - 34.27 from 51 ODIs - could do with some improvement. He's made 10 fifties and two hundreds, but he often makes eye-catching starts only to throw it away.

He's shown this tendency at this World Cup too. Against India at Edgbaston, Soumya made 33 and was looking set for a big one when he slapped a half-tracker straight to cover. Against West Indies in Taunton, he cut a bouncer over third man for six and ramped the next ball straight to first slip.

It could be out of sheer politeness that Soumya insists that he doesn't really watch him batting, or that it doesn't give him a rush of aesthetic pride when he's played a classy shot. Or it could just be that he has batted and played these shots day in and day out, and that he thinks it's normal. He doesn't go out to bat because he strikes the ball beautifully.

"Contributing to the team's effort, particularly when we are winning, is the most important thing for me," he says. "Scoring runs makes it more memorable for me, obviously. A big innings brings more focus on the player."

The wait for the big innings, at a World Cup, has now been a long one for Soumya. Despite saying he is all about substance and not style, he knows he hasn't put up the numbers to say he's done justice to his talent.

"I should have converted my starts better and maybe that could have happened had there been better plans in place," he says. "I could have planned differently, I feel.

"I had a different approach four years ago when I wasn't getting through after making starts. In the third ODI against Pakistan [in 2015, when he made an unbeaten 127 in a chase of 251], I decided to bat safely for short periods. In the World Cup this time, I have contributed to good starts with Tamim [Iqbal] bhai, but I haven't really got a big one."

Just before the World Cup, Soumya made three successive match-winning fifties in a tri-series in Ireland, including a 41-ball 66 in the final, when Bangladesh were chasing 210 in 24 overs in a rain-affected game. The World Cup was expected to be the occasion where Soumya would show the same consistency on a bigger platform.

It hasn't quite happened. In seven innings, he's passed 20 four times, but he's still to make a half-century. The tendency to not push on from starts has dogged him since his breakthrough year year of 2015, in which he averaged 51.69 in 15 ODIs. He only averaged 19.64 over the next two years, in 16 matches. That led to him not featuring in ODIs from October 2017 to September 2018.

Soumya's axing coincided with Hathurusingha's resignation as head coach. Hathurusingha had held a staunch belief in Soumya's ability ever since watching him take a slip catch during a practice match in 2014. The way he took the catch, without the loud smack of ball thumping into palm, convinced him of Soumya's hand-eye co-ordination and the extra split-second of time he had over other players.

Soumya's inclusion in the Bangladesh team, five years ago, was seen as a sign of the team's cricket moving in a positive direction. Here was an aggressive strokeplayer, with a flamboyant style, capable of dominating quality bowling attacks. His good form in 2015 coincided with, and contributed to, the team enjoying a memorable year in ODIs, winning series against Pakistan, India and South Africa.

"From the time of my entry into the team, I have only seen a positive approach," he says. "We have been winning more regularly. We are an improving side, and we don't really think about losing for a moment."

But the subsequent dip in form and ouster from the team affected him. "One thought that constantly came to me was that I should do something so that they feel my need again. I know I can do my job, so that's what I focused on."

Since his return, Soumya has made 644 runs in 19 innings at a strike rate of 105.74, which hints at his special gifts as a batsman, and an average of 33.89, which suggests he is yet to attain that long-yearned-for consistency.

A bit of that consistency could have helped Bangladesh's cause at this World Cup; Soumya has given them quickfire starts, but they would like more substantial scores from him to make life easier for Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, and the rest of the batting line-up.

But Soumya has age on his side, and one more innings left in the tournament. He certainly believes he has a lot more to give to his team, and is generally known to be a positive presence within the dressing room. But he knows it is runs that will keep him in the team for the long haul. Not just pretty shots and promising cameos. He gets that, but he needs to get over the hump quickly.