DateLine: 19th February 2007
He made his ODI debut in 1995 and played in Bangladeshs first Test in November 2000. That makes Habibul Bashar the most durable of Bangladeshs cricketers but experience is not his only asset. He is arguably the sides best batsman and has the figures to back him up. A neat driver of the ball on both sides of the wicket Bashar is a compulsive hooker and this has got him out on numerous occasions. But he has been unable to cut this stroke “ which also has brought him tons of runs - out of his repertoire. He has been the fulcrum of Bangladeshs fragile middle order playing many fighting innings against some of the worlds best bowlers. Essentially an attacking player Bashar started off with 71 and 30 against India in the historic game at Dhaka and is the teams highest run getter in Tests with most number of centuries too. His ODI record has not matched his Test performances - he does not have a hundred even after playing 84 matches. He took over the captaincy from Khaled Mahmud in January 2004 and in the West Indies he not only led from the front with 113 at St Lucia but also enjoyed the unique experience of being the first Bangladesh captain to declare the innings after his team had taken a first innings lead of 64. He then came up with one of the most famous quotes of the year. Asked about his strategy for the next Test a delighted Habibul replied "Jamaica is far away, man". Im not thinking about Jamaica tonight underlining his sunny disposition. His greatest moment as captain however came in 2005 at Cardiff when Bangladesh stunned Australia by five wickets in perhaps the biggest upset in ODI history.