Like any other good sportsman, Mehedi Hasan Miraz is not only fulfilling his lackings, but also doing it by staying true to his strengths
Off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz’s inception was like a storm in Bangladesh cricket, but as success always creates some peculiar lackings, questions were raised as to whether he is as capable of picking up wickets in the shorter versions as in Test matches.
But like any other good sportsman, Miraz is not only fulfilling his lackings, but also doing it by staying true to his strengths.
“I have always wanted to do well in ODIs, after I made the good start in Tests. I have only become consistent in ODIs since the West Indies series. If I bowl tight in ODIs, the captain will have trust in me,” Miraz said at the post-match press conference in Sylhet Friday.
Miraz, who grabbed 19 wickets in two Tests in his very first series against England back in 2016, has been the most successful Bangladesh bowler in the longer version since his debut, but his success was not that prolific in ODIs.
The success may come as a consequence of the team’s cause as the 21-year old is endowed with the duty of opening the bowling on most occasions, and his primary focus seems to be containing the batsmen.
“It is difficult to bowl with the new ball, especially with two fielders outside the circle. But good balls bring more opportunity for dot balls and wickets. I try to bowl in the right areas and not give away boundaries. I want to allow singles, at best, but not boundaries,” explained Miraz.
His career economy rate of 4.28, lowest among the Bangladeshi bowlers who have played at least four matches since debut, proves he has been doing the job properly.
But Friday at Sylhet International Stadium, Miraz went a step ahead as he not only contained the batsmen, but also bagged as many as four wickets to dismantle the opponent.
“Mushfiq (Rahim) bhai reminds me that tight bowling is important in ODIs, so that it creates pressure at the other end. It usually brings wickets. I won’t get a lot of wickets every day but there will be the odd day when I get four or five wickets. I think that mentality has helped me take four wickets,” the youngster added.
In the crucial series-deciding game, Miraz fetched his maiden ODI four-for, and that too with his trademark miserly bowling, conceding just 29 runs in 10 overs.
On the day of his best ODI bowling performance, Miraz also maintained his recent supremacy over Shimron Hetmyer, regarded as one of the best players in the opponent’s ranks.
Miraz dismissed Hetmyer all four times during the Test series, and got his wicket for the second time in three ODIs to really take a moral victory that may be considered one of the pivotal facts in the series.
“When he comes to bat, I think I get more serious. I want to keep the pressure on him, and not take him casually. I am more focused when he comes to bat, which probably helps me more than him,” Miraz added.
Both the men of similar age captained their country’s U-19 sides during their teenage years, and although Hetmyer once lifted the World Cup in the junior level, Miraz’s ever improving progress is perhaps an important indicator of Bangladesh’s improvement in recent times.
The Tigers are not only honing their skills, but also winning the mental battles en route to enhancing their supremacy in top-level cricket.
WEST INDIES INNINGS R B
Hemraj c Mithun b Miraz 9 17
Hope not out 108 131
Bravo b Miraz 10 26
Samuels b Saifuddin 19 32
Hetmyer lbw b Miraz 0 6
Powell c Mushfiq b Miraz 1 9
Chase c Soumya b Shakib 8 20
Allen c Mithun b Shakib 6 17
Paul b Mashrafe 12 22
Roach lbw b Mashrafe 3 8
Bishoo not out 6 12
Extras (b 1, lb 4, w 6, pen 5) 16
Total (50 Overs) 198/9
Fall Of Wickets
1-15 (Hemraj), 2-57 (Bravo), 3-96 (Samuels), 4-97 (Hetmyer), 5-99 (Powell), 6-133 (Chase), 7-143 (Allen), 8-171 (Paul), 9-177 (Roach)
Mustafizur 10-1-33-0, Miraz 10-1-29-4, Shakib 9-0-40-2, Mashrafe 9-1-34-2, Saifuddin 9-0-38-1, Mahmudullah 3-0-14-0
BANGLADESH INNINGS R B
Tamim not out 81 104
Liton c Powell b Paul 23 33
Soumya b Paul 80 81
Mushfiq not out 16 14
Extras (nb 1, w 1) 2
Total (38.3 Overs) 202/2
Fall Of Wickets
1-45 (Liton), 2-176 (Soumya)
Roach 3-0-16-0, Chase 8-0-32-0, Paul 7-0-38-2, Samuels 4-0-25-0, Bishoo 9-0-48-0, Allen 4-0-22-0, Powell 3.3-0-21-0
Bangladesh won by eight wickets, clinch series 2-1
MoM: Mehedi Hasan Miraz
MoS: Shai Hope