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Mehedi Hasan Miraz: the next Bangladeshi spin bowling sensation?

Mehedi was a star for his side in the U-19 World Cup earlier this year

CHITTAGONG, BANGLADESH - OCTOBER 21:  Mehedi Hasan Miraz of Bangladesh holds up the ball after taking six wickets during day two of the first Test between Bangladesh and England at Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on October 21, 2016 in Chittagong, Bangladesh.  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Mehedi after picking a five-for in his maiden Test 

It was the first Test against England at Chittagong and Bangladesh made the bold move of roping in a certain Mehedi Hasan into their squad.

England were quite unaware of what the then 18-year-old could do and decided to bat after winning the toss. Now in Test matches in the very first session of Day 1, you don’t often see spinners bowling the second over but that is what precisely skipper Mushfiqur Rahim asked Hasan to do.

The new ball didn’t turn much and Hasan bowled with patience and wit. He hurled them on a tight line and did not experiment too much.

It was the 10th over of the innings and England were 18 for no loss. Ben Duckett, the debutant who had opened the innings with his captain Alastair Cook had already bagged two delightful boundaries and was in sight off another as he tried to lift Hasan over the top in the fifth ball of the over.But the delivery spun sharply and hit his middle and off stump. The offie’s joy knew no bounds, he had just picked up his first international wicket.

Also Read: How the track at Chittagong made the Bangladesh and England battle enthralling

Hasan’s senior spinning partner Shakib Al Hasan sent back Cook and then Hasan got on a roll again. His next victim was Gary Ballance who initially survived an LBW appeal but then Rahim chose to review it. The review showed there was no bat involved and that the ball was crashing on to the stumps.

England went into lunch only three down, but Hasan already impressing on debut did not want to let go of the Englishmen just yet.

Joe Root, who had been England’s pillar after the first three-wicket was the next one to get out to the youngster. It was a straighter delivery which took Root’s edge and flew to the slips.

His next pray was Moeen Ali and he then castled a dangerous looking Jonny Bairstow to pick up his fifth. He thus became the youngest Bangladeshi to grab a five-for in his maiden Test and seventh overall.

Stuart Broad was his last victim in the innings as he finished with figures of 6/80 and England managed to get to a healthy 293. Hasan however, could not replicate his bowling success with the bat getting out after scoring only a run.

The failure with the bat might have just affected the young all-rounder a bit as he did not look quite the same spinner in the second innings. His only scalp, the second time around was Cook who managed to edge one to slips. Bangladesh tragically lost the game by 22 runs but Hasan won hearts.

His on-field attitude during his maiden Test was impressive 

He finished with impressive match figures of 7/138 and even drew praises from the critics for his performance. His ability to make full use of the new ball and continuing the same with the old one was noticeable alongside his on-field attitude.

Every time he was given the ball, he was determined to pick a wicket. He also looked eager to listen to conversations which involved the senior bowlers. But how did Mehedi make it to the first team?

Mehedi was the man-of-the-tournament in the 2016 U-19 World Cup 

In the recent times, Mehedi has emerged as one of the brightest young stars in Bangladesh cricket. He skippered the team in the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year where the Tigers made it to the semifinal, the first time ever. He was also the man-of-the-tournament for his allround performance. Mehedi scored 242 runs and bagged 12 wicket from six games in the tournament. 

Primarily, he is a batting allrounder who has a knack of picking up wickets with his slow offspinners but the selectors felt he would be quite a handful against England in these turning conditions. Mehedi has a simple action and with time he is adding more variety to his arsenal.   

The offie was born in Barishal and then grew up in Daulatpur which is on the outskirts of Khulna City. He learnt the art of bowling spin from Sheikh Salahuddin, the former Bangladesh player who was regarded as one of the best in the business.

For two years he played at the U-19 level where he first captained Bangladesh to the 2014 World Cup in UAE and then in 2016 when the country hosted it.

He made his first-class debut in the 2014-15 season of the National Cricket League but it was the next season that he stole the limelight by bagging 30 wickets at an average of 16.43. He also had three five-fors in the tourney.

Before the World Cup in 2016, Bangladesh had travelled to Kolkata to play a tri-series against India and Afghanistan, back then Mehedi had said his biggest dream was to play for the senior national side following on the footsteps of Mustafizur Rahman and the dream has come true for the off-break bowler. What propelled him to the dream was his domestic performances where he has picked up 48 first-class and 27 lists A wickets.

On Tuesday, Mehedi also turned 19. A big happy birthday to the rising Bangladeshi star. 

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