The Shafiul predicament | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 20, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:04 AM, February 20, 2019

The Shafiul predicament

When was the last time Bangladesh pacer Shafiul Islam played an ODI away from home? It would be quite hard to recall, so patchy has been the nature of his appearances since making his ODI debut back in 2010.

The same question was asked of the seamer, who is currently with the Tigers' ODI side in New Zealand. Lest one think that this is a satire piece, his actual reply with a smile that could have easily been read as resigned a resigned one: “Ah... I can't remember...  I have played a one-day game in Bangladesh before 2015 against England. I am preparing myself to give my best as I get to learn a lot with the team. The national team has good facilities."

Shafiul played his last ODI away from home back in May 2013 against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo while the last time he played an ODI was back in 2016 against England, which the lean pacer could not remember as well.

But interestingly, his luck with the team is in stark contrast to his squad selection as the 29-year-old has almost been a regular part of the touring Bangladesh squad was with the team in nearly 80 per cent of tours since the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017, but had to return home without zero matches added to his career.

“I have done quite a few tours in the recent past as I was part of the West Indies [2018] tour but was unable to play. It was the same in Zimbabwe. I played a T20 in South Africa but couldn't play any ODIs. Actually I don't want to remember the negatives. I will try to start afresh whenever I get the opportunity,” he said.

It may sound like a cruel joke, but his main function has become that of a high-quality net bowler for the Tigers and even the selectors cannot explain the reason for his inclusion. His career is proof that there was not much faith in him at any point.

“Obviously, I do get upset but it is also challenging. If I remain upset it will hurt my game. Obviously, the hunger is there," Shafiul added.

QUANDARIES ABOUND

The Bangladesh team is currently struggling to find an extra batsman as replacements for the two injured cricketers Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammad Mithun for the third ODI. A lack of foresight on the part of the selectors could be blamed for this dilemma. They eventually had to include Mominul Haque from the Test squad as a back-up for the third ODI.

“I think we could have included someone extra in the squad to prepare for the World Cup, which I think may be a good idea. But it's not like whatever I want or think will happen as there are others to take the decision,” Bangladesh ODI skipper Mahsrafe Bin Mortaza said on the matter.

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