It has been almost three years since Mehedi Hasan Miraz made his Test debut for Bangladesh with a bang, creating history by taking 19 wickets in a two-Test series against England -- the highest haul by a debutant in a series of that length.
The little-known youngster surprised England with his off-spin, bagging six wickets in each innings of the second Test after picking up seven wickets in his debut Test.
Mehedi has since witnessed both sides of the coin as the keen learner has also gone through some tough phases in his young career, especially away from home.
Of the 86 wickets Mehedi has taken so far in 19 Tests, only 28 have come in nine Tests away from home. He has also gone wicketless in five innings abroad.
The 21-year-old, who already owns seven five-wicket hauls and has also bagged 10 wickets in a Test twice, but has managed to pick five wickets or more in an innings away from home just once, against the West Indies last year in Kingston.
As Test cricket is set to return to Bangladesh with the one-off Test against Afghanistan next month, Mehedi will be eager to put the opportunity to full use. A lot will be expected of the Tigers’ spin department manned by Shakib Al Hasan, Taijul Islam and Mehedi as the spin trio have been instrumental to home success, accounting for 161 scalps in the last 10 home Tests, while pacers bagged just 15.
Mehedi picked up 43 wickets in nine of the last 10 Tests Bangladesh played and the Bangladesh think tank will be expecting similar returns from the youngster.
With the likes of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman in the opposition, the Tigers’ team management are well aware of the spin threat from, but according to Mehedi the experience of the home side in the longest format of the game, especially at home, will work in the Tigers’ favour.
“Our bowlers have a vast experience, with the likes of Shakib bhai having played for over 13 years and Taijul bhai, who is just a wicket away from 100 Test wickets. I have also gained experience over three-four years now, and I can say that we have more experience compared to them [ Afghanistan].
“There is a huge difference between one-day or T20s and Test cricket. Their bowlers have been checking runs in the limited-over formats and have gotten success. But Test cricket is totally different -- the batsman doesn’t charge the bowlers often and it is important for the bowlers to have patience,” Mehedi told reporters in Mirpur yesterday.
When it comes to batting, however, the right-hander’s performance has lagged far behind his impressive bowling displays. A genuine all-rounder at Under-19 level, the youngster is yet to justify that tag at the highest level.
With an average of just 18.46 in 19 Tests, Mehedi has scored 554 runs with just two fifties and the cricketer will definitely want to improve those stats to become a genuine all-rounder like Shakib, as he is highly rated to take the baton from the champion all-rounder in future.