There are players who catch your eye. Shahadat Hossain is different. He catches your ear.
Pressed into service, he de-caps himself and sets out. Fairly longish run-up. You curse Shoaib Akhtar for being such a bad influence.
In ODIs, his captain shakes his head and fishes out a chart from pocket. It shows how much his match-fee shrunk.
Teammates cross fingers. Crowd's heart is in their mouth. Is he leaving the field?
No. Shahadat finally stops. He turns, ruffles his hair and runs.
The batsman saw him retreating into a blot. Now the blot swells into a blur. Shahadat begins his voyage, like one of those Narayangunj steamers.
He approaches the umpire, ghosts past him, leaps, lands and delivers it with a grunt!
As if he had a vile lunch which he wants to throw up.
As if he had half-swallowed a pregnant toad but then had a second thought and was trying to reverse the process.
Or he's putting up his impersonation of a mother-in-labour.
Beyond doubt, Shahadat labours. And he delivers as well. So, in all fairness, issues should not be made if he grunts too.
And there sneaks in the suspicion. Could it be possible that Shahadat actually is a woman's soul trapped in a male body?
Or maybe beneath the veneer, he is Monica Seles in disguise!
Cast aside the snickometer, bring out the grunt-o-meter. We must get to the bottom of the mystery.