NAGPUR Mohammad Naim Sheikh scored 143 runs with one half-century and became the highest scorer in the three-match T20 series between Bangladesh and India.
That a 20-years guy, who just made debut in International cricket with this series would become a highest scorer from the either side was beyond imagination, especially when there was the likes of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and even his teammates like Mushfiqur Rahim.
And even Bangladesh didn't give it a thought despite knowing that he has the enormous talent to be future prospect of the country's cricket.
He scored 28 ball-26 runs in his first match and 33 ball-36 runs in second one before almost winning the game for Bangladesh in the series deciding third game with a sublime 48 ball-81. Had it not Deepak Chahar who claimed 6-7 to record the best T20 International bowling, Naim would have hogged the limelight.
But the graph of his performance showed he bettered his previous performance in every match got the consistency which the Bangladeshi batsmen lacked. And it's the arena which was a pleasing experience for the Bangladeshi team management.
Bangladesh played the young players regularly in this series because of the absence of some key players and Naim is the one who grabbed the chance with both hands. The likes of Aminul Islam Biplob, the leg-spinner and the all-rounder Afif Hossain also showed a glimpse of their talent but Naim showed the consistency that is badly needed for Bangladesh cricket.
The way he built his innings and with the elegance he batted was also a treat to watch, leaving some former International cricketers in awe.
Wow what a shot, or elegant drive was repeatedly pronounced by the commentators like Sunil Gavaskar, Atahar Ali Khan when Naim was playing his 48 ball-81 runs knock, taking the Indian bowling attack in disdain.
His innings was a treat to watch, said captain Mahmudullah. But it's disappointing that we can't hang around him to ensure the victory. We are to blame ourselves for not making such sublime innings a proper value.
Naim Sheikh is one of the cricketers from many who were carefully prepared by the team management as they gave them regular opportunity to play in aged level cricket in different countries. But unlike the many, Naim is the one who paid the dividends.
It is a good sign for Bangladesh cricket that Naim Sheikh has scored some runs. He was getting prepared for the last two years. He was in High Performance squad from where a lot of talented cricketers come but everybody is not a performer. However Naim looks like a performer, said selector Habibul Bashar Sumon.
In the first two matches he could not score big runs but he scored big in last match and thereby proved he could play even a big innings. It's always tough to get runs in International cricket but he got it without sweating hard.
It's early to make comment on his performance as he played just three matches but I think our confidence on Naim may work in time to come.
Bashar said Naim's hard work forced them to believe on his ability to do well in International cricket.
When he was in the High Performance unit, his technique was not good enough. But he overcame the technical glitches by working extremely hard. That's why we can keep belief on him.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)