ZIMBABWE TOUR OF BANGLADESH, 2018
Ariful made 79 runs on his debut. © AFP
Bangladesh middle-order batsman Ariful Haque believes his maiden first-class double hundred helped him on his debut against Zimbabwe. Bangladesh lost the two-Test series opener against Zimbabwe by 151 runs following two batting failures and it was only Ariful who looked to bat with some purpose on both occasions. Ariful made an unbeaten 41 in the first innings and followed it with 38 runs to prove his mettle under trying circumstances on his debut that was possible largely due to his exploits in the National Cricket League, country’s traditional first-class tournament.
Ariful came into the limelight in 2006-07 when he struck his maiden first-class century in his first year in the NCL but never really took off. His hard-hitting ability helped him earn a spot in the shorter formats but it took a massive 231 runs for Rangpur against Rajshahi to finally earn a call-up to the Test squad. “Of course, my runs in National Cricket League (NCL) has benefited me. My confidence has been improved after smashing 200 (231 runs) in NCL. As a result, I have done well in my batting in the last Test in Sylhet,” Ariful told reporters at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Friday.
“Actually the first Test has gone well that boosted my confidence. Bowlers in international level will not give balls to hit easily and so you have to wait in that way. A different thought process need to be implemented and probably there is some change in my thinking as well,” he said. “I had a dream of playing Tests and now my aim is to play across all formats.”
Ariful said that being present in the dressing room despite not playing gave him a firsthand experience of taking a closer look at his team mates ahead of his debut. “It’s true that despite not playing all the matches, staying with the national team was a great experience for me. Sharing the same dressing room with the big players helped me learn so much. When senior players shared their experience it helped me in international matches,” said Ariful.
“Now I wish to play across the formats. It’s not in my hand which match I will play and which match I will not. But I will mentally be prepared for it. Everybody will be unhappy if one doesn’t get chance to play after getting into the squad. I have no authority over it.”
Ariful also added that he is prepared to bat with the tail-enders as that was the case in NCL as well. “I always bat with the tail-enders in Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL) and National Cricket League (NCL). You have to play four balls. Actually you can’t expect more from them. They also try to give me strike. May be I will play 4-5 balls and give them one or two,” he noted.
Ariful, who is known to be a medium pacer and was taken into the side as a second seam bowler, said he is always ready to bowl if the situation demands and is learning a trick or two to excel in this department as well. “I am also working on my bowling,” he pointed out. “If it had been my favoured wicket, I could have also bowled. I have to bowl well in domestic circuit. If I could do well in BPL, I will then get more chance to bowl for the national team,” said Ariful adding that they are not facing any extra pressure despite losing the opening game.
According to Ariful the presence of Mustafizur Rahman will have a huge impact on the series-deciding last game scheduled at Dhaka from November 11. “There is no pressure on us. Our main bowler [Mustafizur] did not play the match and we should win when he comes back.”