Welcome back, Sabbir Rahman - make the bat talk now

Sabbir Rahman gestures at his bat while celebrating his first international century Getty Images

It shouldn't come as a surprise if Sabbir Rahman is now included in Bangladesh's squad for the three-Test series in New Zealand.

The 102 he scored in the Dunedin ODI, while making a comeback to international cricket after serving a ban due to disciplinary issues, wasn't without drama, but it should help him get off what has been a bit of a troubled path, and do justice to the undoubted talent he possesses.

And, if he is indeed selected, it wouldn't only be because the decision-makers trust his talent, potential and body language. It wouldn't just be captain Mashrafe Mortaza or the selectors taking a punt on him, hoping he is more responsible as a person, and as a player. It will be because of an on-field performance: his first international century, after playing 11 Tests, 57 ODIs and 41 T20Is.

It has come at a time when most of the other batsmen have struggled, making him a prime candidate to be added as cover for the injured Mohammad Mithun and Mushfiqur Rahim. Bangladesh's batting, bar Mithun, Sabbir and Mohammad Saifuddin, has underperformed in the New Zealand ODIs with most other batsmen unable to come to terms with the fast, moving ball.

Sabbir has been impressive in what was a comeback series. In the first ODI, when on 13, he overbalanced and ended up sprawled on the floor - and then stumped - trying to sweep Mitchell Santner, but did well in the second match. He might have batted deeper into the Bangladesh innings but fell to a soft shot to point off Lockie Ferguson, though the 43 off 65 balls was a decent effort.

When he arrived at the crease in Dunedin, Bangladesh were 40 for 4 in the tenth over, and needed the middle order to weather New Zealand's rampant pace attack. Tim Southee was in his element, having removed the top three in the first 2.1 overs of the innings, but Sabbir's three fours and a six against him forced a length change.

Sabbir didn't let the other bowlers settle into a rhythm either, playing Ferguson and Trent Boult comfortably despite their pace and shorter lengths. He also ensured that Santner bowled a very defensive line, milking him for 30 runs off 34 balls.

Sabbir did most things right on the day, including in the partnerships with Saifuddin and Mehidy Hasan that got Bangladesh past the 200-run mark, and ensured a slightly less embarrassing defeat than might have otherwise been.

Many boxes were ticked, except a crucial one: his reaction upon reaching the century that showed he is still miles away from being the responsible, mature batsman he should be.

There's a time and place for a 'bat-does-the-talking' gesture. When a batsman has just returned from a suspension for abusing someone on social media - he was earlier penalised for beating up a fan during a first-class match, as well as breaking a team curfew during the 2016 BPL - the time is probably not right. Yes, the bat should do all the talking, maybe what the Bangladesh cricket community should be telling Sabbir, and not the other way round.

There's no need to get on social media to say sorry to fans after a bad innings or a dropped catch. There's also no need to abuse fans, physically or verbally, if they question you.

On the cricketing front, the century should help Sabbir focus. It may win him back a place in the Test side too, but Sabbir must now show that he wants it. With the bat.