Sabbir credits Mortaza for his comeback century

Bangladesh’s middle-order batsman, Sabbir Rahman, is relieved that he could repay the faith that skipper Mashrafe Mortaza had in him that helped him earn a place in the 15-member ODI squad, despite an ongoing six-month ban.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board reduced Sabbir’s ban to pave ways for him into the national team after he had been suspended for his off-field issues in September last year when he allegedly threatened a fan on social media.Though there was a controversy regarding his eventual selection with chief selector Minhajul Abedin and Mashrafe Mortaza coming up with contradictory statements, it was clear that both parties wanted him to get some international exposure as he is very much a part of their World Cup plans.
Sabbir was included despite a lukewarm run in the last edition of Bangladesh Premier League, where his only noteworthy performance in the first six games was the knock of 85 he scored against Rangpur Riders, Mortaza’s team.Mashrafe had more than once stated at different forums that he is confident that if they wish to make a noteworthy performance in the World Cup they will need Sabbir for his ability to play shots to different corners of the park, which could have been a reason for his ODI selection, despite not having made a substantial score until then.There was understandably huge apprehension over his batting form and more importantly regarding his mental state ahead of the series against New Zealand.He had been accused of assaulting a fan during a National Cricket League match in Rajshahi, directing abuses at fans on social media and even hitting Mehidy Hasan during the Afghanistan series. Before this ban was imposed on Sabbir, he was already serving a six-month ban from domestic cricket and had also been fined TK 20 lakhs by the board, and many believed it would be difficult for him to overcome all those off-field issues at once and start concentrating whole-heartedly on his national duty.However, it seemed Sabbir was on a mission to prove his critics wrong and was determined to prove a point, showing a glimpse of his batting ability during the second game with a 43-run knock, saving his best for the end.Though his maiden ODI century on Wednesday (February 20) looked more like a personal milestone rather than one that showed intent to win, as Bangladesh gave up the chase midway into their innings when they lost their fifth wicket – Mahmudullah at 61, inside 15 overs – it was enough to justify his selection, more so after some of his illustrious team-mates failed to live up to the expectations during the entire ODI series.