Mosaddek Hossain was once touted as the next big thing in Bangladesh cricket. At a very young age, Mosaddek was consistently winning matches for Abahani especially in the 2016 season, compelling Tamim Iqbal to say that he had the brain of a 45-year-old. He scored heavily in domestic cricket before making it into the Bangladesh team in 2016.
But a lot has changed since then and Mosaddek has been in and out of the ODI side with the last appearance coming last year against Zimbabwe.
But in domestic cricket, his consistency is superb with the bat and he contributes with the ball as well. He was the captain of Sylhet Sunrisers in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) this year. His team performed horribly in the tournament but Mosaddek had some decent outings. He regularly bowled with the new ball, troubled batters and had a batting average of 40 and a strike-rate of 143.
Before that, he led from the front and lifted the trophy of the Independence Cup, the one-day format of BCL, as captain. He has been in prime form in the ongoing Dhaka Premier League as well. Mosaddek is currently the third-highest run-getter in the tournament, only behind Anamul Haque and Naeem Islam, with 615 runs from 12 innings with the help of seven fifties. In the last match too, amid the ruins, Mosaddek was the lone fighter for Abahani, scoring 65 off 57 balls when his team could manage only 131. Not only that, he has picked up eight wickets as well.
His international career may not be very long but he has contributed to some really historic victories. Bangladesh's first-ever multinational series win came in 2019 and the Tigers rode on Mosaddek's blazing half-century - 52 not out off 27 balls. He was adjudged the player of the match.
He made his long-awaited Test debut in 2017 against Sri Lanka in Bangladesh's 100th Test match. Mosaddek played a glorious knock of 75, stitched an important partnership with Shakib Al Hasan and the way he handled the spin of the great Rangana Herath was praised by Dean Jones on air. Bangladesh won that match eventually.
There's another performance by Mosaddek in ODIs that remains underrated. He has always been a handy off-spinner in limited-overs cricket. In the historic 2017 Champions Trophy match, Mashrafe Mortaza introduced him suddenly in the final phase of the match and he removed three Black Caps batters in no time. At one stage it looked like New Zealand would score somewhere around 300 but his three for 13 reduced New Zealand to 260.
Despite all these, Mosaddek couldn't cement his place in the XI in any format because of a lack of consistency. Perhaps he was not given enough chances in Tests. He was never recalled after three Tests despite a fine start to his career.
In 34 innings in ODIs, Mosaddek scored three fifties and has an average of just 26. But it has to be remembered that he played 23 innings at number seven and eight which are not ideal positions for a proper middle-order batter like him.
But are these performances - in the DPL, BCL, and BPL - going to help Mosaddek find a place in the national team? Domestic cricket is the only place where the players can prove a point. Will the selectors take into account the performances in domestic tournaments?
Habibul Bashar and Abdur Razzak, members of the selection committee, have been saying that they are watching the performers closely. But since Bangladesh's ODI unit is pretty settled, it will be very difficult now for Mosaddek to get back into the team. He can possibly be a backup option for someone like Yasir Ali in the middle-order in ODIs. Yasir has done quite well recently with the bat against South Africa and it looks like he will be given a long run. Mosaddek's weakness against quality pace is something that the selectors will keep in mind.
But Mosaddek's best format is surely the red-ball one. He averages 56 in first-class cricket, has quite a few double centuries and most importantly he was left out of the Test team too early. He can be brought back to the Test set-up and given a position in the middle order. Mosaddek is a great captain as well, leading a top DPL team like Abahani. With the senior players in their thirties, the team will have to groom new leaders and Mosaddek might be one of the options. But for that, he has to keep on performing in domestic cricket so that the selectors can no longer ignore him.