Match Analysis

A happy homecoming for 17-year old Nayeem Hasan

A nervous Nayeem said that nobody from his family was at the ground but, of course, his first cricket coach, Mominul Haque, was

Nayeem Hasan bagged a five-for on debut, Bangladesh v West Indies, 1st Test, Chattogram, 2nd day

Nayeem Hasan bagged a five-for on debut  •  Getty Images

The first time a diminutive Nayeem Hasan entered the Brothers Cricket Academy, he was not much taller than the stumps. It was around the same time the academy was set up in Nayeem's Chandgaon neighbourhood in Chattogram, under Mominul Haque, also an offspinner in the twilight of his career, and head coach.
"We used to call him the stump-size cricketer when he first came for practice," Mominul told ESPNcricinfo. "I think Nayeem was either the seventh or eighth member of my academy. I had begun my coaching career while I was still playing club cricket in Dhaka."
Mominul was sitting near the BCB office below the dressing rooms at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram when Shakib Al Hasan handed the ball to Nayeem for his first over in Test cricket. It was the culmination of a journey that began in Chandgaon more than a decade ago when Mahbubul Alam, Nayeem's father, walked him to the local ground.
Nayeem got his first Test wicket in his third over, Roston Chase caught at short leg off the inside edge. The second came soon after, as Sunil Ambris played back to a sharp offbreak, that pinned him in front.
He showed a penchant for trapping batsmen lbw, as he started his second spell in that fashion with the wickets of Devendra Bishoo and Kemar Roach in the same over. By mid-afternoon, the 17-year old became the youngest cricketer to take a five-wicket haul on Test debut when he bowled Jomel Warrican through the gate, later rating that as his most memorable dismissal.
At the press conference, a nervous Nayeem said that nobody from his family was at the ground but of course, Mominul was there. "It filled me with pride. I was lucky to be at the ground when he was making his debut," Mominul said. "Nayeem trusts me. Even if he is in Chittagong for two days, he comes to the academy.
"I have known his father for around 18 years, I think. He was the club secretary of Brothers Union Chittagong, when I started playing for the club."
Nayeem started out as a batsman who bowled medium pace in his formative years. But then Mominul felt he didn't have the physical strength to sustain it successfully, and asked him to switch to offspin.
"I didn't think he was still strong enough to stay a pace bowler. I told Nayeem to focus on bowling offspin," Mominul explained. "It helped because he was just obsessed with the cricket ball. It was his life. He used to keep the ball in his bedside."
Nayeem went through the age-group levels, both in Chattogram and nationally, before being picked in the Bangladesh Under-19 side for this year's World Cup. Midway through the tournament, Nayeem was called up to the Bangladesh side for the first Test against Sri Lanka but he wasn't picked in the XI.
Nayeem was lucky. The pitch was so flat and batting-friendly, it incurred a demerit point. Sunzamul Islam, who made his debut, was taken apart.
Nayeem took 23 wickets for Gazi Group Cricketers in the Dhaka Premier League in February. Mohammad Salahuddin, his coach there, observed him closely during the day's play on Friday, and proclaimed that Nayeem is not the usual Bangladeshi spinner. "He could extract help from the wicket which made him successful. In this wicket if someone could hit the seam it becomes difficult for the batsmen," he said.
"He is not a typical Bangladeshi offspinner because he has the height and he can turn the ball a lot."
There are other reasons to believe that Nayeem is not the archetypal Bangladesh cricketer, a fact exemplified by his gutsy batting on the first evening when Bangladesh were in a spot of bother. His 74-ball 26, which has proven to be crucial in the context of a tightly-contested Test, was an exhibition of mental toughness, seldom associated with young Bangladesh cricketers.
"It is my responsibility when I am out to bat or bowl. I enjoyed both. I just batted normally. I didn't think much about their bowlers," Nayeem said.
There is no doubting the fact that Bangladesh have a special talent at their command, but it will be crucial for everyone who works with Nayeem - new team-mates, coaches, administrators - to understand that he is still some way from growing into a major force at the international level.
Perhaps Mominul, who has known Nayeem's on-field abilities since he started his journey at the Brothers Cricket Academy all those years ago, could guide them.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84