Simplicity in approach and a certain amount of detachment helped Zakir Hasan make his debut memorable. The southpaw is only the fourth Bangladesh batter to score a century on debut after Aminul Islam, Mohammad Ashraful and Abul Hasan. The effort even earned him a congratulatory message from India coach Rahul Dravid.
“I was trying to follow the way I bat in First Class cricket,” Zakir said on Saturday. “I didn’t want to think [that] this is a big Test match. I tried to be as simple as possible. It was the same when I was in the nineties. I tried to follow the preparation and [have the same] concentration as I do in the nineties in First Class cricket. I was doing it every ball.”
The 173-run knock against the visiting India-A side helped a lot, he stated. “That innings provided me with a lot of confidence. A big score leading into a national call-up is certainly a turning point.”
The 24-year-old had made his international bow nearly five years ago in a T20I match at home against Sri Lanka. That remained his sole outing on the world stage until the current Test, but the tag acquired then, of a T20 specialist, has stuck on, despite him having scored more than 1000 runs each in the last two First Class seasons.
On Saturday, Zakir demonstrated that while there are bursts of dynamism in his batting, none of it is furiously hyperactive as is often seen in the shortest format. In the company of Najmul Hossain Shanto (67, 156b, 7x4), he ensured that the hosts did not lose a wicket in the opening session.
India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey said that a wicketless first session didn’t induce panic.
“We knew the wicket would be easy as the game progresses,” he said. “The focus was on being patient and hitting the right areas and creating opportunities. And take those when you even get a half-chance. We pulled it back by picking up six wickets in the next two sessions.”
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