Most of the players at the Masters Cricket Carnival are meeting each other after many years. Some of them have played a bit of international cricket while the majority never played for the national team. Still, it was upon their presence that Bangladesh cricket was built.
When Gemcon Group Khulna take on Ispahani Chittagong on Friday, they will be led by former Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar and have Dhaka Premier League stalwart Hasanuzzaman in their line-up.
Bashar, who was a regular run-scorer for Bangladesh in Test cricket from 2000 to 2007, is delighted to be back in the playing field again.
“Actually it’s a get together for us. I am really excited to be back in field again. It’s a festival for us to become reunited in the field together after many years.”
Bashar said although it’s a carnival, there will still be competition.
“Whenever we play in the field, there will be competition between the players. Actually the competition started during the player auction. Everybody tried to build the best possible team. So yes there will definitely be a completion in the field,” he said.
Bashar said he is also happy with the Khulna team and their preparation for the tournament. “We have a balanced team. Although there are not many big names in our squad, still almost everyone of our team had played in the domestic arena for many years. So I am pleased with the squad. We are targeting semifinal at first. Then we will think about the later matches,” he said.
Bashar played 50 Test matches and 111 ODIs for Bangladesh. Under his captaincy Bangladesh beat Australia, India, South Africa and Sri Lanka in ODIs. He used to be called Mr Fifty for his consistency in getting the score in Tests. He has scored 24 Test fifties and three hundreds. Since retirement, Bashar has been serving the Bangladesh Cricket Board as a selector since 2013.
Another important member of the squad is Hasanuzzaman, who never played for the national team but the middle order batsman was an important player in the mid-1990s.
He played 39 first-class matches with a highest score of 200. Hasanuzzaman works for Bangladesh Biman and sometimes as a manager for local sides. He also acts as the liaison officer when foreign cricket teams tour Bangladesh.
He said every player is taking the tournament seriously.
“We have been busy after retiring from cricket. But when we heard of this tournament we all got excited. We are a bit old now, yes, but in our early days we practiced for three-four hours a day. The professionalism and passion for the game is still in our mind,” said Hasanuzzaman.