Bangladesh Cricket Players
Habibul Bashar has the strokes and mien of a genuine Test player. Most of his runs come from cultured drives through midwicket, and most of his dismissals from a Hilditch-style addiction to the hook shot. Before the inaugural Test of October 2000, Bashar promised he would kick the habit, but still went on to be caught hooking in both innings. Even so, he was one of only two batsmen to notch up 100 runs in the match. He has since carried Bangladesh's flimsy hopes in the middle-order, and inherited the captaincy in January 2004, after the ousting of Khaled Mahmud. After a shaky start in Zimbabwe, he came into his own with a century in St Lucia, as Bangladesh took a first-innings lead in their first-ever Test in West Indies. His country missed him during the Champions Trophy that September when he was out with an injured thumb, but he returned to lead them in England the following season, when lo and behold, his hook-habit cut him down in both innings at Lord's. But he took the criticism on the chin, and restored the nation's pride with a hardhitting 61 in the final innings of a disappointing series. Bashar's greatest moment as captain came on July 18 when Bangladesh toppled cricketing-giants Australia in a convincing five-wicket win at Cardiff during the Natwest Series.