A Player of the Match award is an occasion of personal glory for most but Ebadot Hossain, only in his eleventh Test, chose to look at the bigger picture.
after Bangladesh’s historic win over New Zealand, Ebadot talked about how big this victory over the World Test champions was for his compatriots, and that his hope was for this win to inspire the future generations of Bangladesh cricket. Ebadot didn’t seem too keen on making the occasion about personal glory.
When asked about his own past, from volleyball to cricket, he laughed and called it a “long story”. He further went onto add that he was a “soldier of [the] Bangladesh Air Force”, and was trying to represent Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Air Force on the ground.
Ebadot might have had little time for himself in the post-match interview, but his story is a remarkable one. He joined Bangladesh Air Force in 2012 as a volleyball player before making a switch to cricket. He came across a fast bowling competition in 2016, and the story after that is a familiar one for several subcontinent players. The raw talent was quickly elevated through the structures and was eventually seen by Aaqib Javed, the Pakistan quick from the late 80s and 90s, who was impressed enough to call him a future Bangladesh prospect, despite the fact that the player at that time hadn’t played any first-class or List A encounter.
It is interesting to note that Javed had talked up some other Bangladesh fast bowlers along with Ebadot, but only Abu Jayed seems to have lived up to the hype. For Ebadot himself, the journey wasn’t the smoothest.
Ebadot Hossain, who before this game had the worst average of any Test bowler with more than 10 wickets, is Player of the Match for his 6-46.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 5, 2022
He had the worst average in the history of Test cricket for a bowler (81.54) with more than ten wickets before this game.
This wasn’t a new thing for Bangladesh. Former Bangladesh quicks Mohammed Sharif and Rubel Hossain are the first and third most expensive bowlers on this respective list. In the past, Bangladesh have backed fast bowlers in the hope of creating a bowling attack that doesn’t depend too much on spin and could exploit the assistance available away from home, but barring a few exceptions that hasn’t really happened.
Spin friendly pitches at home weren’t Ebadot’s allies but he has continued to perform at domestic level – he took 12 wickets at 14.16 in this year’s National Cricket League, Bangladesh’s first-class tournament.
At Mount Maunganui, he wasn’t given the new ball, and took his time to find his feet in the first innings. But once he got going in the second innings, he rattled some of the world’s finest batters. Initially the wickets column didn’t show the kind of impact he had on the wicket, but he troubled the Kiwi batters with his accurate lengths. Soon the results began to show.
He was at his best towards the end of the fourth day, when New Zealand’s batters were looking to see off the day. They were at 136-2 but Ebadot got rid off Will Young, Tom Blundell, and Henry Nicholls to leave them effectively at eight for five at the end of day’s play. It was always advantage Bangladesh after that.
If Bangladesh’s soldier can back up this re-start to his international career with similar performances to this, his side can definitely dream of greater glories in the near future.