Sabbir Rahman facing six month ban from International cricket

Sabbir Rahman is staring down the barrel of a six month suspension from International cricket for allegedly abusing a fan on social media, among other offences. If you’re thinking you have deja vu, there’s a reason for it; Sabbir has only just completed another six month ban, that one limited to domestic cricket, for physically assaulting a fan during a match last December. 

The ban will be the third time since 2016 that Sabbir has been banned by the Bangladesh Cricket Board, who recommended a harsher sanction for the player given his previous sanctions. As a result of this latest ban, he has been axed from Bangladesh’s Asia Cup squad, that event set to take place during the course of this month.

As a player, the 26 year old Sabbir has been attempting to establish himself in the national side across various forms of the game. In the test format, he became a regular in the middle-order between his debut in October of 2016 and February of this year, playing 11 matches. Despite a solid start to his career though, he averaged just 24.05 during this time for his 481 runs, never scoring more than 66 in an innings. After completing the tour of South Africa with scores of 4, 0 and 4, he opened up his series against Sri Lanka with a duck and a score of 1, and was promptly dropped from the side.

His ODI career has been a little more promising, though he has also struggled in recent times in that form of the game. Since his debut in November of 2014, he has amassed 1054 at the relatively unimpressive average of 24.51, though he has scored at a strike rate of 93.52.

He has best showed his ability in the shortest form of the game, with his T20I career proving relatively fruitful to date. He debuted at the beginning of 2014 in that form, and has since amassed 41 International matches. He has averaged a solid 25.88 in this time at the impressive strike rate of 122.59, scoring 906 total runs with a high score of 80.

Clearly he is not yet established as an integral part of Bangladesh’s International side, though he has become a reasonably important member of the T20 team. The continual discretions with which he is being charged, however, will make it doubly difficult for him to advance his career. Firstly, the disruptions which these cause to his career will make it difficult for him to improve as a player, something he clearly needs to do to establish his role in the side, particularly in the longer forms of the game. Secondly, the statements released by BCB members suggest they are relatively fed up with his antics, BCB director Ismail Haider Mallick stating ‘if there’s a repeat of such incidents, he will serve a longer sentence. Some people get their act straight, some don’t.’ It appears that if he doesn’t, his career with Bangladesh could well be cut short.

In related news, Mossadek Hossain has also drawn the ire of cricket’s governing body in Sri Lanka after his wife filed a lawsuit against him. According to Haider, ‘he was told to be cautious about his behaviour in future’. As it is, however, the case is largely a family matter, and the BCB will wait until the court gives a decision until they make one of their own. Before that happens, the details of the case are purely speculative, and potentially nothing more will come of it. 

With Hossain seemingly a relatively talented young player, the BCB will be particularly hopeful that that is indeed the case. Though he is only played a couple of test matches, he impressed with a top score of 75 in his debut innings against Sri Lanka. In the 50 over form of the game he has never scored more than 50 in a single innings, but has impressed as a late innings batsman, averaging 33.55 in his 21 matches at a strike rate of 92.07, and ending up unbeaten in 8 of his 17 innings.

For the sake of the 22-year-old, hopefully it emerges that nothing untoward has happened and he is able to continue his fledgling career. Regardless, the BCB will no doubt be hoping that they have less of these types of issues to deal with in the future, in what is becoming frustratingly regular for them. Cricket in Bangladesh is improving significantly, and having access to all of their players will help to ensure that this continues. As a result, they will certainly be hoping that these are the last such disciplinary issues they have to deal with for a while.