Following a run of poor form after being brought into the ODI side as a replacement during the Asia Cup, Soumya Sarkar was dropped from the Bangladesh team for the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe last year. However, the left-hander got another last-minute call for the third ODI in that series and went on to smash a match-winning hundred in Chattogram.
Although the 26-year-old was not selected for the two-match Test series against Zimbabwe, he returned to the Test side later in the year but again disappointed before eventually being dropped for the Test squad for the tour of New Zealand.
Soumya would probably have flown back to Bangladesh after the three-match ODI series against New Zealand -- where he got starts but failed to convert them into big knocks. However, Mushfiqur Rahim's injury forced the selectors to keep Soumya in the Test side.
Habituated to getting those eleventh-hour calls, Soumya previously stated that his bags are always packed for such situations. However, this time around he had fewer clothes keeping a short stay in mind. He did not even have his Test jersey, which was flown in by a journalist who had gone from Bangladesh to cover the Test series just after the ODI series ended.
Whether it is luck or a strong mentality and determination to prove his worth, the elegant left-hander has managed to stage outstanding comebacks throughout his career, and the latest was a scintillating maiden Test hundred against New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton yesterday.
Soumya was also part of the Tigers' sixth-best Test partnership as he and Mahmudullah Riyad, who smashed his fourth Test century, put on a 235-run fifth-wicket stand.
The southpaw, who has been seeking a maiden Test hundred for the past 23 innings, eventually reached the milestone in style, becoming the joint-fastest Test centurion for Bangladesh, alongside Tamim Iqbal, with a 94-ball hundred. He was eventually dismissed for 149 after having thumped 21 fours and five sixes.
"Whatever the Almighty does, it is for good. I may have been playing in the Dhaka Premier League now and watching this Test match on television, but destiny has brought me here and I got my maiden Test hundred," Soumya told The Daily Star yesterday.
He kissed the three lockets around his neck of Hindu god Shree Ganesh, symbol Radha Krishna and the sacred mantra of Om as a show of gratitude after achieving the feat.
"When I got a chance in this Test series, I thought about my first ODI fifty, which was also in Hamilton," he added.
Despite suffering a blow to his helmet early on in the innings, Soumya remained focused and from elegant cover drives off Tim Southee to a cracking pull against Neil Wagner, the left-hander was on top of his game.
"I have never batted against these field set-ups. I never expected someone could set such a field. I decided to play the short ball behind, using the bounce and the pace, rather than playing in front," said Soumya.
Although Bangladesh lost the first Test by an innings and 52 runs, Soumya will surely be more confident and pressure-free, which can only help him grow as a batsman in the coming days.