Mehidy Hasan had a Test fifer even before turning 19. Born in Khulna, his parents wanted him to excel in studies. But, Mehidy had different ideas and chose cricket over academics. His talent…
Mehidy Hasan had a Test fifer even before turning 19. Born in Khulna, his parents wanted him to excel in studies. But, Mehidy had different ideas and chose cricket over academics. His talent was first discovered by former Bangladeshi off-spinner Sheikh Salahuddin. Mehidy captained Bangladesh in the Under-19 World Cup in 2014 at the age of 16 and made his first-class debut for Khulna against Rajshahi Division in February 2015.
It was in 2016, when Mehidy Hasan grabbed headlines. It started with the U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh, where he led his country for the second time. His all-round performances helped his team finish third and he was named the player of the tournament. Soon, he had a tremendous first-class season. He finished the season with 30 wickets at an average of 16.43. These performances earned him a maiden international call-up for the two-match Test series against Alastair Cook’s England.
Mehidy made his Test debut in October 2016 at Chittagong. His first spell with the new ball lasted ten overs that accounted for two wickets. Being one day old in the Test arena, he had a five-wicket haul against his name and he eventually finished with figures of 6/80. Bangladesh lost that Test by a close margin of 22 runs, but that had no effect on the youngster. He bettered his performance by notching up two more six-wicket hauls in the second Test at Dhaka which helped Bangladesh beat England for the very first time in the longest format. He was named the Man of the Match as well as the Man of the Series.
In the 2016 edition of the Bangladesh Premier League, he represented Rajshahi Kings who finished runners-up. Away from home, in alien conditions in New Zealand, Mehidy managed to take just four wickets in two Tests. In the one-off Test at Hyderabad against India, he registered his maiden Test fifty against the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
2017 was a memorable year for Bangladesh in Test cricket as they notched up their first ever wins over Sri Lanka (away) and Australia at home. Both the series ended as draws and Mehidy played a crucial role in both of those campaigns. His unerring accuracy is his biggest strength, particularly on tracks that helps the spinners. Like most Bangladeshis, he also had a forgettable South African tour where he played just the one Test without a single wicket despite bowling more than 65 overs in the match.
Still early days in Mehidy’s career and he can only get better with time. He has shown a penchant for red-ball cricket more than the shorter forms. At least that’s what the numbers say although the sample size is too small to judge him yet. One department where Mehidy will want to improve is his batting. He has made a few contributions down the order but those who know him well will tell you that his batting is as good as his bowling.
Mehidy has batted in the top six most of the times during his Under-19 days and the fact that bats at eight or below for the national team could be a reason why he hasn’t produced the desired numbers. Considering his caliber, it shouldn’t be long before he is given a fixed position in the top six as a genuine all-rounder. He has the age, quality and temperament to become one of Bangladesh’s biggest superstars.
What to expect in the 2019 WC?
Two under-19 World Cups under his belt and Mehidy Hasan knows what it takes to beat the best at a slightly lesser stage. But the World Cup has had the better of many professionals. And Mehidy Hasan with his boyish looks would try to be the lead spinner that Bangladesh would have to fall back upon during the mundaneity of the middle overs. Of course, there will be Shakib but Mehidy Hasan’s off-spinners might as well determine the pace of the opponents during the middle-overs. A shrewd and crafty spinner, Mehidy has been there for a decent time to understand that batters will go after him and there lies his chance to strike for his team.
His batting is also something where he can keep grabbing brownie points. In this day and age, all his vocations are strong enough to sustain the demands of the limited overs format. Mostly would be seen at point during the early overs, a brilliant run-out would only highlight his massive presence in the team.