Donning the Bangladesh jersey for the first time, a young and slight figure walked out nervously from the dressing room and out onto the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium turf yesterday.
Cameras started to turn towards the 19-year-old as the new kid on the block, that too a much sought-after ‘leg-spinner’, as young Aminul Islam was living his dream, attending an intense fielding session with the likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad.
With Bangladesh’s lack of leg-spin talent, Aminul’s identity as a leg-spinner is understandably what piqued interest among fans. However, Aminul is mainly a middle-order batsman and a part-time leg-spinner, as evidenced by his first-class record. He has bowled in just seven innings in the 19 first-class games so far, while with the bat he has a better record, scoring 515 runs with four fifties.
During net practice, Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo was keeping a close eye on the new faces as another young batsman, Naeem Sheikh, prepared to face Aminul. There were plenty of nerves evident in both newcomers.
Unlike most leg-spinners, Aminul does not have much of a build-up in momentum during his run to the crease and he rushes through with a quick-arm action.
It was a short delivery that Naeem tried to punch off the back foot towards long on, but failed to middle the ball.
Aminul then came up with a googly but once again it was a bit short and Naeem got enough time to go for a late cut.
The youngster would have known that this was the best chance to catch the coach’s eye, but he was also in the quandary of having to impress with a skill that was not his main strength, being mainly a batsman who was answering the desperate calls for leg-spin.
According to the selectors, however, Aminul is considered a leg-spinner who can also bat. If the team management does decide to give him a chance and if he then fails, it would certainly be a big blow for the 19-year-old’s confidence.
There is a precedent. Tanbir Hayder, mainly a batsman who bowled leg-spin, played two ODIs in New Zealand in 2016 as a specialist leg-spinner, and failed to deliver with what was his secondary strength.
Tanbir has since struggled to find his exact role and expertise in the domestic circuit. Presumably, Aminul was drafted to the national squad because the selectors identified him as a talent for the future. If the youngster does make his international debut against Zimbabwe today and fails to make an impact with the ball, the selectors should back the youngster and groom him, once again assuming that they know what they are doing and place a high value on the national jersey.