“How do you rate your competition with AB de Villiers?” This was the very first question that Mominul Haque encountered at the impromptu press conference in Fatullah yesterday.
And it took a confused-looking Mominul more than a few seconds to find an answer to that question.
“I have absolutely no clue what to say to that. I am nowhere near him. He is a king in all formats. I don’t think I am a competition for him by any means,” the diminutive batsman exclaimed.
The question was referring to a batting world record, held by de Villiers, which Mominul has a chance to get level with. Mominul has scored 50-plus scores in his eleven Tests; if he scores one more against India he will equal the South African’s record of 12 consecutive fifties in Tests.
The left-hander, who seemed stumped by the question, however, claimed that he had no interest in those figures.
“I am not thinking about whether I will be next to anyone or not. I am just going to play this Test like any other. And I hope I can live up to the expectations that the people of this country have. These stats don’t provide a special inspiration. When you [the media]come and tell me about some record that’s when I become aware of it,” Mominul explained.
While the left-hander wasn’t worried about the records, the one aspect that haunts him most despite boasting an average around 60 in Test cricket is his inability to find a permanent position in the one-day team. He has already been categorised by many as a Test specialist.
“There is nothing about accepting or rejecting that assumption. Had I not played well in Tests and only played well in ODIs, things would have been different. The fact is that at the moment I am getting a chance to play in one format.
“If I can do well here and if I can maintain a good average, then one day I will get a chance in the ODIs. On the other hand, if I break down thinking about the ODIs, then I’ll start doing badly in both the formats,” Mominul observed.
Keeping in mind the dominance of left-handed batsmen in Bangladesh’s top order, India have included two specialist off-spinners in the side. Both Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin could feature in the sole Test in Fatullah which begins tomorrow. Mominul though didn’t seem worried about the threat that strategy could pose.
“I don’t play with a mentality that tells me that I should be scared of this tactic. I don’t have those thoughts in my head. The way I see it… this is a good opportunity for me to learn by playing against a good bowling attack,” said Mominul.