- Mohammad Saifuddin (Bangladesh)
Mohammad Saifuddin emerged as one of the most promising talents during Bangladesh’s journey to the semi-finals at the 2016 ICC U-19 World Cup, which they played on home soil. He along with Mehidy Hasan have graduated into the senior team from that U-19 side, but a spate of injuries coupled with being reported for a suspect bowling action during the Dhaka Premier League in 2016 had raised apprehensions about his career. However, the young seam-bowling all-rounder has been a regular feature in the Bangladeshi ODI and T20I teams over the past couple of years and has earned high praise from several Bangladeshi cricketers—both past and present—including his skipper in the ODI format, Mashrafe Mortaza, who believes that Saifuddin has the potential in him to become one of the biggest assets for Bangladesh going forward.
Carrying the good form from the tri-series involving the Windies, Bangladesh and Ireland held in Ireland just before the World Cup, in which he picked up 4 wickets in 3 games @ 29.8, Saifuddin stood out as one of Bangladesh’s leading performers during their 2019 Cricket World Cup campaign. With his skiddy pace, Saifuddin was not easy to score off at the back end of the innings, but often struggled to take wickets with the new ball, which is one of the primary reasons why Bangladesh failed to restrict the opposition openers from getting off to good starts. With the bat, he almost pulled off a match-winning performance against India, but the lack of support at the other end meant that he remained stranded on 51 and saw Bangladesh suffer a 28-run defeat.
With Mashrafe Mortaza expected to retire from the game soon, Saifuddin’s responsibility as a new ball bowler in the shorter formats is bound to increase. If monitored and handled carefully, he could well go on to become the next big star of Bangladeshi cricket.
Tournament stats: Batting: 7 matches, 87 runs, Avg. 29, S/R 120.83, HS 51*
Bowling: 14 wickets, Bowl Avg. 29.78, Economy 7.16