Best substitute fielder should also be considered for Player of the Match award, say record holders

Jaker Ali

The six catches by the substitute wicket-keeper Jaker Ali (Dhaka Platoon vs. Rajshahi Royals at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka on Monday is the first ever in the BPL (Bangladesh Premier League) and only the third instance in T-20 cricket. 

The 22-year-old Jaker Ali, however, was not awarded the Player of the Match award. 

Speaking exclusively over telephone from Dhaka, he says, “No, I am  not at all disappointed. It is because Wahab Riaz bowled really well and he took 5 wickets and deserved that award”. 

Jaker Ali was not in the playing eleven and was substituting for a regular wk and an opening batsman Anamul Haq, who sustained a neck injury while batting. 

Interestingly, Jaker Ali played previous seven matches as a fielder (not as a keeper) but was dropped for this match. 

It is rare for a substitute fielder to be awarded the Player of the Match award. 

“It is for the adjudicators to decide. But yes, if the substitute fielder is the sole good performer in the match, his recognition should be rewarded. He can even be declared the joint winner”, he further added. 

“Jaker Ali is a good young cricketer. He plays for the Under-19 team and will definitely play for the senior team”, India’s Apurva Desai, who has coached him at the Sylhet Division team, said from Surat.   

Sri Lanka’s Upul Fernando, as a substitute wicket-keeper, has the best of 7 catches in a T-20 match in 2007.  

Now playing and coaching in Australia, Upul Fernando says, “If the record stands in my name, I am to be holding it. I was playing that match as a batsman but when the wicket keeper was injured, got the opportunity to keep wickets”. 

“The adjudicators should think of awarding the Player of the Match award to the fielder also”, he said from Australia.  

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