Monday, 27 September, 2021

Mahmudullah’s Test retirement saga

Mahmudullah’s Test retirement saga

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Bangladesh all-rounder Mahmudullah is yet to retire officially from Test cricket but he is unlikely to feature in the longer format again after the ongoing one-off Test series against Zimbabwe.

The right-handed batsman made a king-like return to Test format after 17 months gap by scoring career-best unbeaten 150 runs against the hosts in the first innings but his heroics was short-lived as he told his teammates about his interest in quitting Test cricket.

The Daily Sun understands that Mahmudullah wanted to prove that he’s good enough to play Test cricket and after establishing it with a career-best innings against Zimbabwe, he doesn’t feel that much interest to carry on with it.

Mahmudullah’s sudden retirement decision came as a shock for his teammates while it embarrassed Bangladesh Cricket Board, even more, considering his inclusion after announcing the Test squad came under severe criticism from different corners.

The 35-year old wasn’t included in the initial Test squad for the Zimbabwe tour and he was only added as a backup after Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim complained of different injuries.

“Certainly it wasn’t expected and put us in embarrassment as we had to do a lot of things to include him in the Test squad because everyone is aware that the coach was reluctant to have him in red-ball cricket,”  said a BCB official involved with the development on request of anonymity.

Mahmudullah’s wild celebration after reaching the three-figure mark during the second day of the Test showed the sign of his relief considering he wasn’t considered in Russell Domingo's Test plan in recent times.

Meanwhile, his Test future looked bleak after BCB decided to keep him only in the white-ball contract and considering his age, it was a clear indication that the board also was looking ahead.

The veteran had all good reasons to leave the longer format with his head held high as he managed to settle the score with Domingo, who is accused of putting his Test career into the wilderness, with the comeback Test ton.

But his decision to announce it in the middle of a Test match also raised questions considering it wasn’t expected from a senior cricketer like him to act in such a manner which surely distracted his teammates’ concentration to some extent while taking part in a Test.

 It was learnt that certain cricketers are under scrutiny for leaking the news to the media as it was expected to be revealed after the match but it hardly proved enough to validate Mahmudullah’s action.

What prompted him to take this decision remains a million-dollar question but one thing is clear that he was immensely hurt after getting dropped from the Test fold in early 2020 and his action was nothing but a slap on the face of the team management, who questioned his merit in red-ball cricket.

According to sources, BCB President Nazmul Hassan Papon is hugely disappointed with the entire development as he’s known to have influenced the selection panel and coaching staff to include him against Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, Mahmudullah, the T20 skipper, agreed to play across formats and signed accordingly in the national contract form before coming into the Test series but his sudden and unexpected decision only makes things more complicated.

BCB is now expected to sit with him soon to know whether it was just an emotional outburst or if he had truly made his mind up about his international career in the longer version.

However, it was learnt Mahmudullah is adamant not to change his mind but certainly, he could have handled things more professionally as according to a BCB official it could have saved everyone from embarrassment.

“He is a senior cricketer and we expect that he would act responsibly,” said a dejected BCB official.