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POST TIME: 1 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Mominul gives befitting reply to his critics
Syed Mohammed Pithu, Ctg

Mominul gives befitting reply to his critics

Bangladesh top order batsman Mominul Haque plays a shot as Sri Lankan wicketkeeper N Dickwella looks on during first day’s play of the first Test match at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong yesterday. BCB PHOTO

“He had a point to prove. He did it. I liked what he did. I understood what he meant,” Tamim Iqbal replied spontaneously when he was asked about the reason of Mominul Haque’s animated celebration after reaching the century. Everyone present in the post-match conference, did know the exact reason of such celebration, simply a overjoyed celebration that Mominul never did in his career. He instead is used to do a muted celebration. However Tamim was queried, only to get an official statement about the celebration. Tamim’s answer didn’t give any official statement exactly what the media people wanted but his hint was enough to understand the thing.

Mominul’s celebration also gave enough indication as to why he observed his fifth century such wildly. He usually was used to take off his helmet and raise his bat after reaching his century. The last four times, such celebration was seen. After the century against Sri Lanka on the first day of the first Test, he also took off the helmet and raised his bat but he did it while sprinting towards the Sri Lanka dressing room, and then stopped for a moment to go towards Bangladesh dressing as if he forgot where his colleagues sat. He actually didn’t forget, rather it appeared to be intentional, at least the people who knew the past history between him and Chandika Hathurusingha got the point.

Mominul Haque, adorably called as 'Pocket Dynamo' was at the peak of his career, hitting four centuries in just 12 matches and possessed a Bradman-like average. He was also cementing his place in the ODI side gradually, if not fluently like his Test career. And then the entrance of Chandika Hathurusingha in Bangladesh’s dressing room, that was in 2014. Hathurusingha’s first assignment as coach was Bangladesh’s tour in West Indies. Mominul couldn’t score heavily in the three-match ODI series, like his other colleagues in the tour in which Bangladesh was whitewashed. Hathurusingha forced selectors axing Mominul from ODI squad, pointing out his weakness against the short balls. Selectors didn’t oblige and kept him in the squad against Zimbabwe and also in the 2015 World Cup. Hathurusingha didn’t stop, rather he made it public and Mominul’s performance started deteriorating. At last he was dropped from the ODI side after the 2015 World Cup and never came back.

But he kept playing Test cricket and Hathurusingha kept saying he is not good enough against short balls. The truth is --no Bangladeshi players play the short balls well. But Hathurusingha’s wrath on Mominul wasn’t understandable yet. Since Mominul possessed a good average, he kept playing despite Hathurusingha’s unwillingness. But it was also true, Mominul couldn’t score any century what he made a habit at the start of his career. When Bangladesh went to tour in Sri Lanka in 2017, Mominul was dismissed a couple of times by off-spinner Dilruwan Perera. Hathurusingha pointed it out and dropped him from the first Test against Australia, citing the reason that he wouldn’t be good enough against Nathan Lyon’s off-spin. Country’s cricket fraternity reacted harshly, prompting team management to include him in the second Test’s final XI. Hathurusingha forced him batting at No. 8 position, clearly indicating that he didn’t want to see him in the team. Mominul finally was dropped for the first time in his Test career during Bangladesh’s tour in South Africa. Cricket fraternity, media personnel and others reacted once again, forcing BCB president Nazmul Hassan Papon to come forward. He was then drafted into the squad in the place of Mosaddek Hossain Saikat who had eye infection then.

One of Hathurusingha’s sudden resign from the Bangladesh team’s head coach was that his demand wasn’t fulfilled. His demand actually was to axe Mominul.

The two incidents are clearly enough to indicate the reason behind Mominul’s wild celebration. He in fact replied Hathurusingha in fitting way. Hathurusingha said he was weak against short balls—Mominul’s productive shot was against shorts deliveries of fast bowlers Lahiru Kumara and Suranga Lakmal during the course of his epic 175 not out. Hathurusingha said he was not good enough against off-spin—he took off-spinner Dilruwan Perera in disdain, hitting him seven boundaries of the 16 boundaries he struck so far. Perera even couldn’t beat him a single time on the day.

“Mominul was amazing throughout the day. He kept on playing the shots. He had a 103 strike-rate when he reached his 100. We knew it was a nice wicket to bat on, on day one. So it was most important for us not to throw our wicket. It is normal for a batsman to get overexcited on such a wicket, and play a risky shot. He knew how important his wicket is for us. We needed their big partnership. Mominul and Mushfiqur Rahim were sensitive and positive. If there was a ball to hit, they did it very well. Mominul is still not out so I am sure he will go a long way. I personally thought he had a point to prove and he did it very nicely,” Tamim Iqbal further clarified the significance of his innings.