Back in 2021, Shahadat Hossain Dipu was part of the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s High-Performance program under Toby Radford. At that time, the English coach had said to keep an eye on the youngster, who had won the Under-19 World Cup with Bangladesh just a year before.
Two years on, Shahadat has been called up for Bangladesh’s upcoming one-off Test against Afghanistan.
Not just Radford, many have touted Shahadat as an exceptional talent who has a long future ahead of him.
His recent performances made that clear as the 21-year-old scored 480 runs in this season’s Dhaka Premier League, and then hit back-to-back fifties in Bangladesh A team’s second four-day match against West Indies after he was left out in the first.
That performance, eventually, brought him to the side. While happy, Shahadat is eyeing to improve after getting his desired call-up.
“It is normal that I feel happy. Everyone dreams of playing for their national team. I am thinking about improving day-by-day,” he told the media on Monday.
Shahadat’s first-class record is pretty impressive considering his age. The 21-year-old has played 20 first-class matches, scoring 1265 runs at an average of 36.14, and has 10 fifties and two centuries. The youngster came through the school cricket programme and had to go through tough times since his young days.
“When my father passed away, I was very young. I did not understand the situation. As I grew up, my big brother was helping me out. Sudeepto bhai helped me with everything cricket related. That was the start, and from there I moved forward,” he said.
Shahadat was felicitated by his teammates upon arriving in training on Monday, and also by Jamie Siddons, who had been working with him during the A team’s series against West Indies.
“Everyone was congratulating me. It feels good. Everybody has that dream. I have it too.
“I talked to Jamie this morning. He is very happy. He probably didn’t know (that I got selected). When he did, he was very happy,” the youngster said.
While he has made his way into the national team, now his job is to turn it into a regular spot, and he aims to do so.
“I will try to develop my skills day-by-day. I will try to get stronger mentally. This is my job. The more I improve, the easier it gets for me to play.
“People say that my skills are good. What I feel is that my mentality needs to be stronger to play here (international cricket),” he said.
Whether the 21-year-old will be given his Test cap in the Afghanistan Test is not sure but one thing is – that he comes in with high expectations.
“You need to check out some batters in some places. We believe he (Shahadat) is capable of doing well in the international arena. He has been picked considering the technical sides,” Bangladesh National Team chief selector Minhajul Abedin told the media on Monday.
For now, it’s just a start. Shahadat will hope that it indeed is, and that he ends up following up on