Rahman has been the pick of the bowlers for his side and a lot depends on how he performs for Bangladesh to progress further in world cricket © AFP
Mustafizur Rahman has been the pick of the bowlers for his side and a lot depends on how he performs for Bangladesh to progress further in world cricket © AFP

The world saw the rise of a sensation exactly a year back when India toured Bangladesh for a three-match One Day International (ODI) series in 2015. He outfoxed a strong and reputed batting line-up at will as if he knew all the tricks to bamboozle top players since in initial stages of his career itself. He looked in full control of the proceedings and most importantly, knew what he was doing on the field which bore efficient results for him. Since that match, 20-year-old Mustafizur Rahman, looks set to spearhead the Bangladeshi attack. Let us look back at the marvelous debut with which Rahman broke into international cricket and has only grown from strength to strength since then: ALSO READ: Mustafizur Rahman’s rehabilitation delays Sussex stint

In the first match of the series, Bangladesh skipper, Mashrafe Mortaza, won the toss and elected to bat first on a good looking pitch. Bangladesh’s opener, Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar went all guns blazing right from ball one. Coming back from a brief break after a hectic tour of Australia, which also included the ICC World Cup 2015, Indian bowlers looked rusty and sprayed the ball in all corners and went for runs. They got their first breakthrough when Iqbal gave a simple catch to Rohit Sharma off Ravichandran Ashwin. ALSO READ: IPL 2016: How Sunrisers Hyderabad’s faith in pace paid off

This did not damage the run-flow of the hosts as every batsman got off to starts and posted a healthy total of 307 for 8 in 50 overs. Experts still had their money on Team India as they knew the art of chasing and how to pace their innings well. What happened after a good start was disaster for the visiting team, to say the least. Cruising at 95 for no loss, India played out Rahman decently but he did trouble them with his wicket to wicket and prodigious swing bowling. He was removed by the skipper for a short while in which the team got two scalps in Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli.

Rohit was looking set to take his team through again after the famous quarter-final of the World Cup in Australia. Just then, Mortaza brought back Rahman to apply more pressure and get the important wicket of Rohit. Rahman understood the need of the hour quickly and earned the wicket of Rohit in the first ball of his second spell. The off-cutter had arrived from his arm for the world to witness. After that there was no stopping the young man. He easily got past a struggling Ajinkya Rahane with another peach of a delivery. He was using his variations smartly and getting his wickets off slower ones.

It was he, who was the chief tormentor for his side that night as he not only applied the brakes of the Indian middle-order but also bowled with pace, bounce and swing at the start. By getting the wicket of Suresh Raina, Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, he made a memorable debut with a five-for. The team took a lead in the three-match series and later went onto win the next match and series, courtesy a Rahman special again. Rahman has not stopped since then. He contributed in the series against South Africa also and earned the Emerging Player award in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL).

As for every fast bowler, he needs to be fit to serve his team in future assignments. The challenge will be how he performs in England, New Zealand and Australia. He has shown the world, in a very short span of time that he is eager to learn and has a steady head. His control with the new ball is impressive and the slower bouncers and off-cutters that he keeps throwing at the batsmen keeps them in two minds facing him and as a result they are never sure facing him. How much more he can learn and execute is to be seen but he should be underestimated at a batsman’s own risk. With 26 and 22 wickets respectively in the ODIs and T20s, he has more than announced his arrival and it will be up to him how he stitches his career going forward.

(Aditya Sahay is a journalist with CricketCountry who is completely into sports and loves writing about cricket in general. He can be followed on Twitter at adisahay7)