Onus now on youngsters | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 28, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:11 AM, February 28, 2019

Onus now on youngsters

If you ask the Bangladeshi cricketers about their favourite format, a majority would answer ODIs or T20Is, mostly because of the glitz and glamour associated with the limited-overs formats.

There are a few exceptions though, and it is vital that the youngsters set a benchmark for themselves when it comes to adapting to and enjoying the longest and the most esteemed format of the game, which allows cricketers to grow in all aspects.

Among the exceptions is young Shadman Islam, who became Bangladesh's 94th Test cricketer in November last year when he scored 76 against West Indies on debut. The left-hander did show a glimpse of the temperament and composure that the longer version demands, but he must remember that his main challenge is about to begin here in New Zealand.

Among those 94 Test cricketers till date, a majority have been unable to sustain and establish themselves due to a lack of consistency or, to some extent, the disappointment of being left out of the limited-overs side.

The likes of Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, and Mahmudullah Riyad recognised the importance of excelling in the prestigious format at different points in their career and have since displayed the urge and hunger to do well in Tests.

Whenever Bangladesh play Test cricket away, especially outside the sub-continent, it is a huge challenge that requires adaptability and character -- attributes that have at times been conspicuous in their absences.

With the first of three Tests against New Zealand starting from today at Seddon Park, the onus may yet fall on the seniors like Tamim and Mahmudullah in the absence of the other two stalwarts in Shakib and Mushfiqur, who will not be featuring due to their injuries.

Shakib, the regular Test captain, has often said that there are no seniors or juniors when you play a team game as everyone has their own roles to play if they are to win a match. The main reason for Shakib's words is to make his teammates realise their responsibilities.

Having hit two consecutive fifties in the first two ODIs during the recently concluded three-match series against the hosts, Mohammad Mithun stands out as one of the more consistent performers on tour.

But the biggest test for Mithun will now be to replicate his confidence and eagerness to do well in the longest format, especially in tough New Zealand conditions, and if he can ace the challenge it will show that he has reached the next level in terms of mindset, which is still a concern.

The same goes for Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar, who are highly rated for their talent and potential but like Mithun, there are question marks as they are yet to combine talent and game sense into a winning formula.

Liton averages 25.36 in 13 Tests while Soumya also has a pretty similar record with an average of 26.72 from 12 Test matches -- numbers that do not do justice to their talent.

If Bangladesh really want to do well in Tests, especially away from home, it's not just the seniors who need to perform but the responsibility also rests on these aspiring cricketers to realise what they are capable of and take a big step forward at a time when the team truly needs it.

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