The beginning of a new journeyAzad Majumder
In early 2009, former national coach Sarwar Imran was invited by one his friends to give some tips to players from relegation-threatened second-division side Lalmatia KC.
There he found two young pace bowlers in the nets, bowling very fast. Yet neither of them had secured a regular place in the side, and the explanation given to Imran was rather bizarre.
‘They were really fast, so whenever the opponents’ batsmen would connect to their bowling the edges were racing towards boundary,’ Imran recalled on Wednesday.
‘It was beyond the capacity of their fielders to stop the edges, which were coming so quickly. So both the bowlers ended up sitting in the dugout, watching the team struggle to avoid relegation,’ he said.
Imran did not hesitate for a second to call up the duo to the GP-BCB Academy, where he was then working as a pace bowling coach.
There began a story that reached its climax on Wednesday with one of those two pace bowlers celebrating his first call up to the national side for the first Test against New Zealand in Chittagong.
Al Amin Hossain, the young Abahani pace bowler who has taken 18 wickets in six matches in the ongoing Dhaka Premier League, was added to the squad to lead Bangladesh’s pace attack against the Kiwis, alongside Rubel Hossain and Robiul Islam.
The selection of Jhenaidah boy Al Amin, the youngest of three siblings, was unsurprising given his rapid progress at the Academy’s pace foundation, which he joined alongside Tashkin Ahmed, the other pace bowler spotted by Imran in the Lalmatia nets.
At the Academy, Al Amin played in just one practice match before he was picked to tour South Africa. His talent was also spotted by reputed local coach Mohammad Salahuddin, who gave him a chance with his Gazi Tanks side.
However, Salahuddin could not give him enough matches, so Al Amin joined his mentor Imran at Victoria Sporting Club next year. Imran liked the bowler so much so that he picked him for his Bangladesh Premier League franchise, the Barisal Burners, for consecutive seasons.
Imran found himself coaching Gazi Tanks this season, but he missed out on Al Amin’s services because of the new ‘players by choice’ transfer system.
‘I was really looking to get him in our side, but unfortunately Abahani picked him before our turn came,’ said Imran, who is very hopeful about the future of the right-arm pacer.
‘He has got still some problems with his action and run up. If he can rectify them I see a great prospect in him,’ said Imran, himself a former national pace bowler.
Al Amin has been knocking at the national team door since his exploits for Bangladesh A team in the recent England tour. In an otherwise forgettable series against the England Lions he was a stand-out performer, picking up six wickets in three one-day matches.
However, Al Amin said he was not prepared to be rewarded so soon despite his recent form, especially with a chance to play in the Test series.
‘To be quite frank, I did not expect it now,’ Al Amin told New Age over the phone after playing a match for Abahani. ‘After I got out, our manager Mamun Bhai congratulated me and told me that I got a chance in the national side. I’ve been over the moon since I got this news.’
‘The most important thing is that I got a chance in the Test squad before the one-day and Twenty20 [teams]. It’s a dream coming true. I want to thank the selectors for keeping faith in me,’ Al Amin said hours before he bid his Abahani team-mates goodbye to begin his journey to Chittagong.
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