When Bangladesh won the ICC Under-19 World Cup last year, people spoke fondly about the performances of the likes of Tanzid Hasan, Parvez Hossain Emon, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Akbar Ali, Towhid Hridoy, Shoriful Islam. But Lt. Col. Imran Ibn A Rouf, the principal of BKSP, said, "Watch out for Shamim Hossain Patwari too."
Shamim Hossain couldn't do anything noteworthy in that tournament. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) arranged a T20 tournament last year called Bangabandhu T20 Cup after a long layoff due to Covid-19. Shamim couldn't do much with the bat but what stood out was his spectacular fielding.
Ireland Wolves toured Bangladesh earlier this year and that's where Shamim finally showed what he is capable of. In the one day series, he played the role of a finisher and had a stunning strike rate of 131 and an awesome average of 130. In the one-off T20 match, he smashed four sixes in a brief innings of just 11 balls.
Then came the Dhaka Premier League T20 where he lit up the stage again. Shamim was certainly the find of the tournament, scoring 243 runs at a staggering strike rate of 146.38. Minhajul Abedin, the chief selector of the Bangladesh team, said that his batting prowess in the death overs could be useful.
On debut, he played a courageous knock of 29 off 13 balls but failed to get Bangladesh over the line. But in his second T20I, the southpaw played a sensational knock of 31 not out off 15 and saw Bangladesh home.
"I was confident that if I got the opportunity to go out to bat, I could win my team the match. I couldn't do that on my debut but I always had the belief that I am capable of winning games. I was then able to do that in the second match," Shamim told The Business Standard (TBS) in an exclusive interview after returning to Bangladesh from Zimbabwe.
Shamim wants to cement his place in the side and contribute whichever way he can. "Yes, I might have won my team a game but I haven't done anything overwhelming. I don't want to disappear. I want to stay and contribute to my team."
Shamim went out to bat under immense pressure in both the matches but didn't show signs of nervousness. He played some terrific shots and what really caught everyone's eye was his placement and game awareness. "I think that I did what the situation demanded. More often than not, I have to back myself to play this kind of cricket especially in the position where I bat," said Shamim.
"Actually, cricket is a high-pressure game and it's all about handling it. So I try to keep myself as relaxed as I can and if I can straightaway middle the ball two or three times, things get easier for me. I don't worry too much about the pressure because it will always be there and you'll have to learn to absorb it."
The 20-year stayed calm and composed under pressure and it never looked like he was someone who was playing his first or second match. "Actually cricket is a high-pressure game and it's all about handling it. So I try to keep myself as relaxed as I can and if I can straightaway middle the ball two or three times, things get easier for me. I don't worry too much about the pressure because it will always be there and you'll have to learn to absorb it," he explained.
In addition, Shamim said, "I feel staying with the ODI squad and taking the field as a substitute fielder in a T20I helped me get accustomed to the environment of international cricket."
Shamim maintained that calm composure when he received his T20 cap from Shakib Al Hasan, an occasion many would be overawed by: "It was a proud moment for me. But this is just the beginning. I will cherish this moment and hope that I will be able to do honour to this cap. Sharing the field with the heroes whom I grew up watching was a great experience."
It all started when Shamim was only eight years old. He played a tournament in which the winners would get a television. He smashed four consecutive sixes in a match and won a game.
While reminiscing about that incident, Shamim said "A big brother watched me bat in that tournament and helped me get admitted into Clemon Cricket Academy in Chandpur. Shamim Farooki Sir was my first cricket coach. Then my uncle got me admitted into the BKSP in 2015."
Shakib Al Hasan once said that the U-19 players who won the World Cup will have a vital role in winning an international trophy. When asked about that, Shamim pointed out a few things that helped them win the tournament.
He said "Yes, Shakib Bhai is right. He understands that winning a World Cup is never easy. I think what worked in favour of us in that tournament was that the communication among the players was great. Winning such a tournament couldn't have been possible if the mutual respect and understanding wasn't there. We complemented each other very well. Since we have won an Under-19 World Cup, why can't we dream of winning an ICC tournament?"
"People all over the world now know Narail, Magura, Chattogram because our leading cricketers were born there. Like them, I want to put Chandpur on the map through my cricket. I want to be one of the best players in the world."
Shamim is a terrific fielder. He idolises Jonty Rhodes and wants to be one of the best in the world. "People all over the world now know Narail, Magura, Chattogram because our leading cricketers were born there. Like them, I want to put Chandpur on the map through my cricket. I want to be one of the best players in the world. I want to be someone like Jonty Rhodes. I know it's tough. But I am willing to work as hard as possible for this," he signed off.