Friends forever vie for the same slot

Not on too many occasions Bangladesh national cricket team has faced such a serious selection dilemma. Two in-form players of equal caliber vying for one slot is something that rarely happened to Tigers in the past. This is what could happen in the upcoming World Cup, not just for one slot, but for a few. It will not be easy to pick one between Taijul Islam and Arafat Sunny or one from Rubel Hossain or Al Amin. But what could give the team management a bigger headache is to choose from Nasir Hossain and Sabbir Rahman. Nasir is a proven performer, who made the number seven slot in the batting order his own for nearly two years until a dip in form saw him losing the place in the recent Zimbabwe series. Sabbir grabbed the opportunity with both hands to put up some match-winning performances, raising his stock ahead of the World Cup Nasir, meanwhile, regained his form during the Dhaka Premier League forcing his way back into the side. This has created a direct competition between Nasir and Sabbir as the team can hardly afford both them in the starting lineup in Australia-New Zealand, unless it sacrifices a bowler.

The competition however could leave no impact on their friendship which they described as ‘eternal.’ Speaking at a press conference at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, both Nasir and Sabbir revealed they were friends since their under-13 days and never faced any problem playing together. ‘We are indeed very good friends off the field,’ said Nasir. ‘We are playing together almost 9-10 years. We played alongside each other in Under 13, Under-17 and Under-19 teams.’ Sitting next to Nasir, Sabbir echoed the same words and hoped to continue playing together in the national team. ‘It has been 9-10 years we are playing together. Now we believe both of us will get a chance. Only you guys are seeing a competition.’ ‘Both of us are players of same category. But I never thought of us as rivals.’ ‘In the Premier League, I tried to play my own game and the rest was not in my hands.  Now I feel good that both of us got a chance. I feel rather good that now we can play together in the national team too.’ For both Nasir and Sabbir it will be the first World Cup, though the former is already a seasoned campaigner in international cricket having made his debut almost four years ago in 2011. He played for the Tigers on the trot for almost three years before losing his place. He pulled off some stunning performances in the DPL to return to the side, though the 24-year right-hander said his comeback is yet to be complete. ‘I will feel like I have made a successful comeback in international cricket once I perform in the World Cup,’ he said. ‘I got some runs in the league, but there is gulf of difference between our league and international cricket.’

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