The smile of Enamul Haque Junior is always full of life and a matter of charm for the people surrounding him. But while he starts operating with the ball, he will give you tough times with dizzy and tricky spells.
Eight years ago, he triggered an absolute sensation by picking up eighteen wickets against Zimbabwe and gifting Bangladesh their first-ever Test series win since their introduction to Test cricket in 2000. Very recently, Cricketsoccer (CS) had a candid chat with this lad from Sylhet…..
CS: You were an absolute sensation during the series against Zimbabwe in 2005 but after that series, you began to lose your vim. What do you think went wrong with you?
Enamul: Nothing went wrong. I am always considered as a Test bowler and as we didn’t play enough Test cricket, I think, that’s why the selectors didn’t consider me. You can say that I had been a bit unlucky.
CS: Despite the tremendous performance during the 2011-12 National Cricket League the selectors left you in the cold in the series against West Indies. But as a matter of fact, more often you suffer the ignorance of the selectors. What’s your take on this?
Enamul: I failed to fit in the selectors’ ideal combination and for which I was not considered against the West Indies. But despite everything I wish to look forward to the next series.
CS: The Dhaka Premier League is jet-logged. There are many reasons being given regarding this awkward situation in newspapers. What do you think is the reason behind this?
Enamul: I read about this in the newspapers. There might be a lot of reasons behind this. But one thing I can say that it should have happened two months back.
CS: There is hardly any cricket going on at home. How badly it will affect our cricket?
Enamul: Definitely this is really bad for our cricket. You can see our A team is struggling in England and the Under-23 team lost against UAE in Singapore. They didn’t have any proper match practice before such tours and how can one get enough match-practice if the domestic cricket isn’t active? Without playing any active cricket how can you expect them to do well?
CS: You once provided the perfect foil to Mohammad Rafique’s guile. Both you and Rafique built up a potent combination. Now Mohammad Rafique is being suspected as a match-fixer. How much this surprised you?
Enamul: I was extremely shocked to know about Rafique Bhai! But still, Rafique Bhai is just under suspicion. I pray and hope that the accusations against him prove wrong.
CS: Have you ever been approached by any bookies?
Enamul: No! Never!
CS: Bangladesh still haven’t been good in Test cricket. What according to you is the reason behind this?
Enamul: In my opinion, our weak domestic structure is pretty responsible for our poor exhibitions in Test cricket. All good Test sides in the world have a strong domestic cricket and for which they enjoy good results. For a better Test side, a competitive and strong domestic cricket structure is a must. Again, we don’t play enough Test cricket as well. We just play a Test series once in a year. With such little amount of Test cricket, it’s hard to improve as a Test team. The ICC should allow us to play more Test cricket.
CS: Don’t you think Bangladesh need to give more importance to the longer-version domestic formats rather than spending time and money in tournaments like the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL)?
Enamul: I think BPL is a good tournament but poorly organized. You are right we have to give more importance to the longer-version domestic formats.
CS: The English County cricket is the perfect arena for our cricketers to groom. I always felt that the County teams will not be bemused if they pick our cricketers. Don’t you think that our cricketers should be picked up by the County teams?
Enamul: It’s tough getting picked in County Cricket as you know only one overseas player is allowed to play there. To feature in the County teams you have to be regarded amongst the best in international cricket like Shakib and Tamim.
CS: What qualities does a left-arm spinner need to develop to fetch wickets regularly?
Enamul: A left-arm spinner needs to have an accurate action and the ability to spin the ball on any deck. Again, he must be blessed with plenty of patience.
CS: Who is your spin-bowling idol?
Enamul: Enamul Haque Moni, Rafique bhai and Daniel Vettori are my idols.
CS: Bangladesh rely on spinners too much. Do you think that over-relying on the spinners is hampering the young generation in taking pace bowling seriously? Don’t you think that we need to bring a variety on our wickets? So far our wickets have been very monotonous……
Enamul: To an extent, it is hampering the young generation as in the pace bowling sector we don’t have any good role models other than Mashrafe Mortaza. Our wickets too aren’t enough encouraging in grooming pace bowlers. But things are changing in our domestic cricket for the last 12 months or so as I have played on some green tops and in that sense it will encourage the youngsters to take pace bowling seriously. And I don’t think over-relying on the spinners is hampering our team as you always go according to your strength and our spinners are our strength.
CS: During the Zimbabwe series in 2005 what sort of plan did you make to turn it into an absolute purple patch for you?
Enamul: I was beaming with confidence and always believed that I can strike gold. I worked hard and had faith in my abilities. After fetching a handful of wickets and bowling well in the first innings of the first Test against Zimbabwe at Chittagong in 2005, I became even more confident and I guess this confidence helped me to essay an absolute purple patch.
CS: In 2006, Bangladesh were about to embarrass Australia at Fatullah. With the ball, you had been superb. In the first innings, you bowled a ripper to dismiss Michael Clarke. Tell us something about that Test match and that magical delivery……
Enamul: That Test match against Australia in 26 was one of the closely contested ones for Bangladesh and that too against the best team in the world. Australia were boosted by Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and co. From the word go we started to dominate them but in the end, we just failed to create history.
Yeah, I remember that delivery to Michael Clarke. It was the first ball of my spell and I tossed up a ball which pitched on a leg-stump line but took a sharp turn after pitching and hit Clarke’s off-stump. Clarke was dumbfounded. It had been one of the best deliveries I have ever bowled.
CS: After 2006, you were once again, in and out from the team and we discovered you again in the West Indies tour in 2009 and you were again part of another historic moment for Bangladesh. We wish to know about that historic tour……
Enamul: Well, before the Test series against West Indies, for thirteen months Bangladesh didn’t play any Test cricket. We had a bad World T20 tournament in England and the team had a new captain in Mashrafe Mortaza. But in the middle of the first Test match we lost Mashrafe and Shakib took the responsibility to lead our side.
From my personal point of view, I still feel proud to be part of every Test victories of Bangladesh. I got selected in the second Test match and found myself in an excellent rhythm while bowling. I fetched six wickets in that Test match and proved critical in Bangladesh’s victory. But Shakib had an outstanding series during that time, especially as a captain he was spot on.
CS: How influential Dav Whatmore had been in your career?
Enamul: Dav Whatmore was a fantastic coach for Bangladesh. He had the eyes to pick young talents. He had been extremely influential in my cricketing career as he installed faith in me and made me believe that I can play Test cricket for Bangladesh.
CS: How do you rate Shane Jurgensen as a coach?
Enamul: Shane Jurgensen is a very popular person in the team. He is loved by all. He enjoys a very good understanding with the players and he gives importance in every single matter regarding cricket and players.
CS: Jurgensen has hinted that he wouldn’t rely on the spinners that much in the upcoming series against New Zealand. But as a matter of fact, the spinners are our main weapon and we don’t have any good fast bowlers. Do you support Jurgensen’s idea?
Enamul: Jurgensen is a very competent coach and is blessed with productive ideas. One thing I can say he has better plans for the New Zealand series.
CS: Shall we see you play against New Zealand?
Enamul: I am confident of returning against New Zealand.
CS: Thank you so much for talking with Cricketsoccer. Do you have any message for your fans?
Enamul: For the fans I would like to say, keep believing in us. We are working hard to do well as a team.