10 Facts about Javed Omar - The Former Bangladesh Opener

10 Facts about Javed Omar – The Former Bangladesh Opener

Javed Omar
(© DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP/Getty Images)

Javed Omar, the underrated former opener was an important part of the Bangladesh side from its initial years in Test cricket. The right-hander made his ODI debut in the mid-nineties and represented his country at the highest level on a consistent basis. The slow and steady batsman, Omar’s role in the team was to see off the new ball and he usually did well. He had the patience and perseverance needed to survive at the highest level of the game.

1. Birth:

Javed Omar was born on 25th November 1976 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

2. Early impressions:

Omar grew up in a family where cricket and football ruled conversations. He preferred cricket and soon became a regular club cricketer in the early 1990s. In his early teens, he toured England during the summer of 1989 with the Bangladesh U-19 side. He played in the Asian U-19 cup in Bangladesh in the same year scoring 55 against Pakistan.

3. Struggle to earn an international debut:

In the late eighties and early nineties, Bangladesh was mainly involved with one day cricket while Javed’s batting technique was always more suitable for the longer version. He was labeled as being too slow and stony with his batting. He finally earned a chance to wear the national colors on 5th April 1995 against India at Sharjah in the Asia Cup. He scored 18 off 43 before being run out in this match which India won by 9 wickets.

4. Sidelined for the ICC Trophy 1997:

The Carlsberg 1997 ICC Trophy was the qualification tournament for the 1999 Cricket World Cup. Played in Malaysia, this tournament was the turning point for Bangladeshi cricket. Defeating Kenya in the final the Asian side won the competition and qualified for the 1999 World Cup along with the African finalists and Scotland who won the third place play-off. Javed was a part of the team, however, failed to get a game as the then coach Gordon Greenidge decided to push hard-hitting middle-order bat Naimur Rahman to the opening position.

5. Batting style:

A strong back-foot player, Javed was obdurate with the knack of swiftly hacking and cutting anything short and wide. He was slow at building his innings, but that was exactly what Bangladesh needed when they looked fragile in the early days of Test cricket.

6. Memorable Test debut:

On his Test debut in April 2001, he carried his bat for 85* becoming only the third player in history to achieve this on debut. He is the second person in the history to carry the bat through entire innings in both forms of cricket. The opener was the first batsman in the new millennium to carry his bat through an entire Test innings. This was in his country’s first overseas Test, against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo. Scoring a fifty in the second innings as well, he became the 18th cricketer to achieve the feat of scoring half centuries in both innings of a Test as a debutant.

7. King pair (Dismissed First Ball in Both Innings):

During the second Test against India in May 2007, he achieved the very rare feat of grabbing a king pair being dismissed by Zaheer Khan on the first ball of the both innings. Only 18 cricketers in the history of Test cricket have held this dubious distinction.

8. Best performances:

His only Test century was a knock of 119 against Pakistan in 2003, which gave Bangladesh their first first-innings lead in Tests. The innings came at the back of some low scores that had put him under pressure for a Test spot. He had four other Test fifties in Chittagong against Zimbabwe, South Africa, New Zealand and India. He also scored a gutsy 71 against England at Chester-Le-Street in 2005. Omar was the only Bangladesh batsman who understood the early English summer conditions and made double-digit scores in all four innings.

9. Statistics:

He played 40 Test matches scoring 1720 runs including 1 hundred and 8 fifties. His 59 ODIs produced 1312 runs with the help of 10 fifties. His career best in ODI cricket is 85* against Sri Lanka at Dhaka in 2000. A veteran of 102 first-class matches, Javed scored 5353 runs including 10 tons and 24 fifties.

10. Retirement:

He played his last first-class match in December 2011 however retired from all forms of cricket after a friendly domestic match on January 3, 2014. He became the last member of the team that played Bangladesh’s maiden first-class match to call it quits.