Desperate to find a winning formula, Bangladesh have turned to two debutants for their last two group-stage matches of the T20I tri-series at home: Aminul Islam, a young batsman who bowls a bit of legspin, and Najmul Hossain, a left-hand top-order batsman. Najmul is not a new face, having played two Tests and three ODIs, but 19-year-old Aminul is a surprise pick. He played in the 2018 Under-19 World Cup and couple of seasons in the Dhaka Premier League before the selectors noticed him bowling in the nets for the high-performance squad and were impressed. Aminul hasn't even made his Bangladesh Premier League debut; but such bolts from the blue are not new in Bangladesh cricket. Here's a look at some of them.
Mahmudur Rahman (formerly known as Ranjan Das)
Mahmudur, a left-arm medium pacer, was part of Bangladesh's first Test XI. He picked up one wicket in that game against India in Dhaka, but never played for Bangladesh again. That match, interestingly, was only his second in first-class cricket, although he did turn out for the Under-19 and 'A' sides in the 12 months leading up to it. He was talked up by his coach Dipu Roy Chowdhury, a former Bangladesh player, but the emergence of the steadier and fitter Manjurul Islam put Mahmudur out of the reckoning, for good. He turned to left-arm spin in domestic cricket, before concentrating on his career as a banker.
The man who later became Bangladesh's captain - he's still their ODI skipper - is the country's most successful bolter. Mashrafe was the first cricketer this century to make his first-class debut in his first Test. That, against Zimbabwe in the 2001 home series after Andy Roberts predicted big things from the 17-year-old paceman, took place when Mashrafe was on a Bangladesh A tour to India, after having made headlines with the Under-17 side earlier in the year. Incidentally, Mashrafe's ODI debut was also his List A debut.
Among the young pace bowlers who had impressed Roberts during his bowling camp in Bangladesh in 2001 was also Talha, who made his Test debut the year after Mashrafe's debut. He was quicker than Mashrafe with a whippy action, and made his debut after he had played just a single first-class game and three List A games, although he was a regular in the Dhaka Premier League for a couple of seasons leading up to the call-up. Injuries, however, never left Talha alone, and although he had a decent domestic career, he never quite fulfilled his early promise for the national team.
Like Mashrafe, Nazmul too made his first-class and List A debut in his first Test and ODI, as he too was fast-tracked after playing the 2004 Under-19 World Cup. Nazmul was quicker than most of the pace bowlers at the time and with many of them, including Mashrafe, regularly missing games because of injuries, the selectors picked up the rookie. But Nazmul had his own share of injuries, and ended up playing only two Tests and 38 ODIs in an international career that spanned eight seasons.
If then coach Chandika Hathurusingha had had his way, legspinner Jubair would have also made his Test and ODI debuts before playing a major domestic match. Jubair impressed Hathurusingha in the nets during the Bangladesh team's preparatory camp ahead of their tour of the West Indies in 2014. He was rushed into the Bangladesh A team immediately after, and made his first-class and List A debuts against Zimbabwe A. The Test debut came on cue, against Zimbabwe, and he impressed with his flight, turn, and control. But after he became the centre of a spat between Hathurusingha and then chief selector Faruque Ahmed, in 2015, his stocks started to go down. He was benched in domestic cricket and after a poor one-off T20I performance, he had a hard time convincing coaches that he could be an attacking option. He hasn't played for Bangladesh since.