Shanto answers his critics
He is probably the most criticised Bangladeshi cricketer on social media, but Najmul Hossain Shanto has seemingly managed to dealt with the situation and transform himself into a consistent performer in recent times, reflecting the player's strong character.
The left-hander, who has been in good touch in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League, helped Sylhet Strikers clinch a crucial two-run win over Fortune Barishal with a brilliant unbeaten fifty under tremendous pressure yesterday.
Shanto has shown great consistency since finishing as Bangladesh's leading run-getter in the ICC T20 World Cup last year in Australia after scoring 180 runs.
With two fifties from seven games, Shanto is now the third-highest run-getter in this edition of the BPL, having scored 281 runs at an average of 56.20. However, despite his performance on the field, he has often been criticised on social media, which, Shanto conceded, affected him mentally at times.
"I think the trolling on social media is more difficult for my family [to deal with] because my family doesn't take it like I do. They get hurt and feel bad when they go out. I get upset about it at times and I have felt bad to be honest," Shanto told the media yesterday.
The 24-year-old clarified that he welcomed constructive criticism, but not attacks on his character.
In the match, Sylhet were tottering on 15 for three after being rattled by Barishal's Pakistani pacer Mohammad Wasim and it never looked they would go on to post 173 for five after 20 overs.
But Shanto remained unbeaten on a 66-ball 89 that featured eleven fours and a six, finding the perfect blend of defence and aggression.
After absorbing the early pressure with great patience, Shanto ensured he kept his composure and remained calm, adding 81 runs for the fourth wicket with Tom Moores, who departed after scoring 40.
Shanto let loose after reaching his fifty off 48 balls, scoring his next 39 runs off just 18 deliveries as Sylhet added 49 runs in the last four overs, a total that proved enough to clinch a close win over an in-form Barishal side.
According to Shanto, quick adjustments in the middle and an accurate assessment the pitch helped him keep his composure.
"I think I had to spent some time at the crease initially because we lost three quick wickets so I took my time. But once I had the partnership with Moores, I think we got a platform to open up. I was always given the role to play till the 14-15th over, even in the national team in T20s. General people or even journalists might not know the role given to me, but I try to play for my team," he said.
Under inspirational skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza Sylhet, Sylhet have appeared unstoppable in the tournament so far and recorded their sixth game from seven matches. According to Shanto, Mashrafe gave him the license and freedom to play his natural game, which was reflected in his batting.