If you were playing word association, ‘guile’ would be the world best used to describe Mahmudullah. Tall and strong,Mahmudullah has the ability to give the cricket ball a good whack. But it is his strength in manipulating the strike with intelligent decision making that has made him one of the most valuable one-day international players in a young Bangladesh side. Often batting at six and seven, it is clear that Mahmudullah’s role is that of a finisher. Indeed, his 22 unbeaten knocks in 68 ODI innings are a testament to both his ability to keep his wicket intact and the fact that he often has to bat with the tail. A perfect example of the former was his ice-cool 21 not out against England in a pressure-cooker World Cup game at Chittagong that saw Bangladesh home from a precarious position. His Test batting record is less stellar, petering off after a bright start which included a century against New Zealand. His regulation offspin is useful, especially in ODIs, but a highwatermark will always be the eight wickets that he took against West Indies in St. Vincent to script a rare Test victory. Mahmudullah was recently elevated to the role of vice-captain for Bangladesh, a show of belief from the powers that be that he is a player for the future.