If you’ve been around this site for a couple of years and have properly been paying attention, you’ll know that we have a slight obsession with Bangladesh’s Mominul Haque on the not-at-all flimsy grounds that his name sounds a bit like a drunk person saying a team-mate’s name – a team-mate’s name which when mispronounced sounds like ‘animal’.
Alongside that, he’s actually a pretty good batsman. However, despite four Test centuries and an average of 63.05 in the longest format, he was batting at nine against Afghanistan today.
Bangladesh’s batting order has long perplexed us. Rather like Afghanistan, they seem to produce more than their fair share of spin bowling all-rounders and this gives rise to a situation where guys who start out as bowling tail-enders suddenly reveal themselves to be top order batsmen who bowl a bit. Then, two matches later, they’re back down the order again.
But Mominul? His freakish Test average is obviously going to fall, but Bangladesh aren’t exactly blessed with batsmen good enough to fluke such a statistic. Surely he’s better than coming in at number nine?
In case you’re wondering, Mominul’s near-namesake Anamul Haque opened. Anamul’s Test average is nine.
Well that was easily the tensest sporting moment of the last 20 years. Possibly ever. There he was, on 99, and Cricinfo refreshed several times with no change to his score. Surely this moment couldn’t be ripped away from us so cruelly? We were absolutely on tenterhooks.
But huzzah! After the next refresh, his score did change and Mominul Haque has another Test hundred. They’ll be dancing in the streets of Cox’s Bazar tonight. There’d be dancing here too if it weren’t for the fact that we don’t dance and wouldn’t dream of celebrating anything in such a ridiculous way, let alone the achievements of a 22-year-old Bangladeshi batsman whose career we’re following largely because we think his name sounds kind of funny.
Mominul is currently batting with Shakib al Hasan who newer readers may not know we’ve been following since 2006. That should probably be considered a warning that Mominul coverage is unlikely to die down any time soon.
People latch onto particular players for all sorts of odd reasons, developing long, intense, one-way relationships with them. Maybe you attended the one match where an otherwise poor player achieved momentary competence or perhaps they were the first player you saw responding to ‘give us a wave’.
It can be anything. It can even be that your name sounds a bit like a drunk person saying a team-mate’s name – a team-mate’s name which when mispronounced sounds like ‘animal’.
So thank you Anamul Haque. Your work is now perhaps done. You have drawn to our attention Mominul Haque; we have noticed that he has scored two hundreds and two fifties in his first nine Test innings; and we have consequently, probably, inadvertently adopted him.
Mominul is currently averaging 83.42 and will probably never average that much again. These two hundreds against New Zealand will probably come to be seen as aberrative; an odd and freakish flash of early form which committed us to years of imagining that every innings of 22 not out could have become 222 not out if only it hadn’t rained for four days.
In 2015, Bangladesh will finally drop him after a long run of low scores. The very next match will be a high-scoring draw and we’ll be livid because if Mominul had played, he would have recaptured form and confidence and gone on a run-scoring spree the like of which has never been seen before.
Why couldn’t they have held on for one more Test? Why couldn’t they have given Mominul Haque one more innings? Some people can’t see greatness even when it’s right in front of their eyes.