Bangladesh left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed didn’t waste a minute after coming to the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium ahead of the fourth game of the ongoing five-match T20I series on Saturday.
The 26-year old demonstrated spot bowling for a substantial amount of time and it was monitored closely by Bangladesh spin consultant Rangana Herath, knowing that he needs to seize the opportunity completely to come out from the shadows of Shakib Al Hasan.
He was neither around the national team before this year nor was regular in the domestic cricket as Nasum, who made his first-class debut in 2011 for Sylhet Division, only managed to play 10 first-class games so far.
He even tried his luck in Barisal Division in two seasons considering his place wasn’t guaranteed in the playing XI of Sylhet as they got veteran spinner Enamul Haque Jnr.
Nasum’s list A career looks quite the same as despite making his debut for Prime Doleshwar in the 2014 Dhaka Premier League he only managed to play 37 matches so far.
After playing DPL for the first time, he didn’t get any match for two consecutive years and remained on the team bench only.
Nasum grabbed the chance with both hands picking 13 wickets in 13 matches with a good economy rate.
His economical bowling style attracted the eyes of the national selectors as they were desperately looking for someone to fill the spot of Shakib considering he was banned by ICC for failing to report corrupt approaches.
Nasum was included in the squad for the T20 series against Zimbabwe last year due to his form but more so because Shakib wasn't around but he didn't play a single match in that series.
His dream of representing the national team received a huge blow as cricket came to halt due to coronavirus for eight to nine months and when cricket finally resumed his chance of playing in the national team became thinner as Shakib came back after serving the ban.
It appeared Nasum’s international career is all but over as he was playing under the shadow of none other than Shakib but an unexpected turn of events changed his career.
Shakib decided not to tour New Zealand due to his injury and more so because he was granted paternal leave from BCB and as a result Nasum was included in the New Zealand tour and furthermore made his debut where he managed to keep his economy rate under eight in the opening two games.
Nasum got only one game in Zimbabwe where he didn’t fare well and though he was picked against Australia his place was not guaranteed firstly because there was Shakib and secondly there was also all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin, whom he replaced in the series.
The team management decided to give Nasum a go in the series opener considering a lot of right-handed batsmen in the opposition and he seized the opportunity with the career-best 4-19 that helped the Tigers earn their maiden T20 win over the Australians.
It also paved his way to be a member of the playing XI in the following matches.
Nasum surely partnered Shakib but despite bowling well against Australia, it doesn’t guarantee him a place in the playing XI unless he does something spectacular.
Left-arm spinner Tanvir Islam, leg-spinner Aminul Islam alongside Saifuddin are eagerly waiting to get the spot on the team sheet.
Knowing his future very well and through which he had gone so far in his career the only way out for Nasum is to hone his skills and make a niche for him and none can be better than Herath to show him the path.