Mahmudullah, the well-known Bangladeshi allrounder, has announced his retirement from test cricket in the recently concluded one-off test against Bangladesh. Mahmudullah, who had made his test debut in 2009; has been among those players who have been at the forefront of establishing a new identity of Bangladesh in international cricket. Due to his numerous acclaimed performances in international cricket; Mahmudullah has developed a huge fanbase among cricket aficionados across the world.
Mahmudullah’s decision to retire from the longest format has undoubtedly been a source of sadness for many fans. Mahmudullah thankfully has not made anything public about his plans to retire from the other forms of cricket. He currently plays for Bangladesh in both the T20 and ODI formats and is the captain of the T20I team. Let us have a look at the details of the announcement that has been an interesting topic of discussion.
The announcement came on the third day of the recently concluded single test against Zimbabwe, which Bangladesh won finally. Bangladesh is currently on a tour of Zimbabwe and is set to play three ODIs now. It is unusual for players to announce their retirement midway through a match and thus the decision has shocked many; including his co-players and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). The decision has been quite low-key too; as there was neither any official announcement from Mahmudullah himself nor from the BCB.
Apparently, Mahmudullah himself informed his own teammates on the third day of play; after having scored his highest in test cricket – an unbeaten 150. It seemed highly unlikely and unusual as he had just proven his ability in the most coveted format. Things were finally confirmed when his teammates were seen giving him a guard of honor at the start of the final day of play. For his brilliant performance with the bat, Mahmudullah was crowned player of the match. It seemed like a nice farewell from test cricket for a man who has been serving Bangladeshi cricket for a long time. Mahmudullah, however, was not in the squad that was initially selected for playing this test in Zimbabwe.
Mahmudullah was drafted in the side as a cover for Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal; two other senior players who had injured themselves in the Dhaka Premier League T20s. He was playing test cricket after eighteen long months. He played his last test match in early 2020 in Rawalpindi against Pakistan. However, things are more complicated.
Reactions from Bangladesh Cricket Board
When contacted, the Bangladesh Cricket Board expressed its shock and frustration with this decision. Nazmul Hassan, the president of the BCB did not mince his words and criticized the decision; calling it “unacceptable”, based on “emotion” and “unusual”. He pointed out that such a decision is bound to affect the morale of the team. In an interview to the Bangladeshi daily Prothom Alo; he said, “I have not been informed officially but someone called me on the phone and said he doesn’t want to play Tests anymore.
Apparently, he told the dressing room. I think it is highly unusual since the match isn’t even over. I think he did it from emotion. Such an announcement will have a negative impact on the team. It is unacceptable. I have no problem if someone doesn’t want to play, but there is no need to create a mess in the middle of a series.” He also pointed out that Mahmudullah had clarified his availability in all three formats of the game to the board when it was drafting his contract.
Reactions from different quarters
Hassan further said, “Riyad wrote that he wants to play all three formats. Regarding Tests, he wrote that he wants to play in the format if given the opportunity; which is why we picked him in Tests. I called him to my place twice, where he confirmed to me that he wants to play Tests. I find it astounding that he is talking about retirement. Even Mominul Haque, the captain of the Bangladesh Test team, made his disappointment clear.
Dedicating the win to Mahmuduallah, he remarked about the retirement, “as a young captain, I am supposed to feel bad. If I don’t feel bad, it is unusual.” Clearly; there has been a lot of opinions and discussions going in Bangladeshi cricket since this decision was announced.
Mahmudullah will be retiring after having scored 2914 runs across 50 tests at a batting average of 33.49. He has also picked up a total of 43 wickets in this format at an average of 45.53. One hopes that the Bangladeshi allrounder will keep on performing and playing in the shorter formats of the game now.