Mominul Haque’s majestic 175-run unbeaten innings was a fitting riposte to his critics who doubted him and his batting ability in the recent past.
The celebration after reaching his hundred against Sri Lanka at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Cricket Stadium represented a lot of emotion. His ecstatic jump in mid air, with pumped fists, was a clear sign how much pressure he had to endure during these tough times.
Mominul’s place in the Test XI came into doubt throughout 2017. But the start of Mominul’s career was like a dream for him as he scored 11 consecutive half-centuries. At one stage in his career, in late 2015, his average rose to 56. But soon, he saw the other side of the coin in his career as the left-hander experienced a slight dip in form in the 2017 season.
He played two Test matches in 2016 and six last year, managing an average of only 24 in 16 innings. Bangladesh played some tough away series in these two years against the likes of New Zealand, India and South Africa. But still, Mominul’s slump in form was eye-catching.
During Mominul’s tough times, the team management was not able to solve his problem properly. Yes, it is true that as a player, Mominul had to work hard to rediscover his rhythm and scoring touch. But it was also the job of the then head coach Chandika Hathurusingha and batting coach Thilan Samaraweera to help him regain his confidence. That did not happen and Mominul was initially dropped from the home Test series against Australia.
Later, due to constant queries from the media and intervention of BCB president Nazmul Hasan, Mominul was finally included in the squad in the last moment. But that tour was anything but pleasing for Mominul. During the second Test against Australia, Mominul even batted at No 8 in Chittagong.
So the bottom line is, it was not the proper way to treat a young batsman who was struggling but was not so long ago spoken in the same breath as Australian great Sir Donald Bradman, who is known, among other things, for his stunning average.
The Hathurusingha reign however, is over in Bangladesh cricket. Now he is the coach of opposition side Sri Lanka. Samaraweera is also working as the batting coach of Sri Lanka these days. So Mominul chose the perfect stage to answer his doubters, and probably in the best possible way.
Scoring 175 on day one is impressive but the more impressive aspect was his attitude and controlled aggression, which gave no chance to the Sri Lanka bowlers during the entirety of Wednesday.
And the other noticeable thing was, when Bangladesh lost two quick wickets in the 84th over, as a set batsman Mominul took up the responsibility of facing the majority of the remaining deliveries with calmness and controlled aggression.
“Mominul was amazing throughout the day. He kept on playing shots. He had a 103 strike-rate when he reached his hundred. We knew it was a nice wicket to bat on, on day one. So it was most important for us not to throw our wicket. Mominul is still not out so I am sure he will go a long way. I personally thought he had a point to prove and he did it very nicely. I liked what he did. I understood what he meant,” teammate Tamim Iqbal said while praising Mominul’s knock during the post-day press conference.
So it’s a good start, a fresh start for Mominul in 2018. Let’s hope the talented batsman will shine according to his potential for the rest of his career in the longest format of the game for Bangladesh.
Quickest Test tons by Tigers
Tamim v England (2010), 94 balls
Mominul v Sri Lanka (2018), 96 balls
Mominul v New Zealand (2013/14), 98 balls