Abdur Razzak recently became the first ever Bangladeshi to pick up 500 first-class wickets. Riding on his exploits in domestic cricket, Razzak was surprisingly called up to the Bangladesh squad for the two-match Test series at home against Sri Lanka. The left-arm spinner gave an exclusive interview to Dhaka Tribune where he shared his thoughts on his career so far, Bangladesh cricket, and future plans, among other topics. Here are the excerpts:
You currently have 515 first-class wickets to your credit. What’s the secret? How did you maintain your fitness?
It’s simple, follow the basics and maintain the standard. As a professional player I need to maintain my high standard all the time. And that’s what I did. Cricket is my profession, so I am playing it with seriousness all the time. I always try to perform well whenever I play in the field.
You made your first-class debut in the 2001-02 season. You’ve been playing first-class cricket for almost 17 years now…
Oh, has it been that long? (Smiles). Actually you have reminded me about my debut year. Sometimes I feel surprised that I have played first-class cricket for these many years. I can still remember my debut match, it was against Jessore. It feels like yesterday to me.
Are you still enjoying your cricket?
Yes, obviously. I am really enjoying my cricket.
You recently received a call-up against Sri Lanka in Tests. Did you see it coming after playing well in the longer version for so many years?
I did not exactly expect the call-up against Sri Lanka. But I knew that the call-up would come one day. Definitely, I did not lose my hope of playing for the national team again. Because, if you lose hope, then it may become extremely difficult to perform well consistently in the domestic level.
Do you harbour any expectation of returning to the national side in ODIs?
I don’t know really. My job is to perform well in the domestic level. If there is no more call-up for me in the ODI team, then it is okay. I am just trying to fulfill my duty in the field, and that is to perform well.
How longer do you want to continue playing?
I really don’t know. As I said, I am enjoying cricket at the moment. The day when I will not enjoy the game anymore, or I feel like there is no enjoyment going to the field early in the morning, then I will quit. But honestly, I am pretty much fit physically at the moment and enjoying cricket.
Advice for the youngsters…
Discipline is very important. A player has to be determined about his target or goal. Besides that, when a young player gets his chance in the national team by performing well, then he must concentrate on his basic game rather than fame. National team players need to understand that millions of fans are following them. They are the role models for kids. So the young players should try to improve their game, rather than gaining more fame. I am not indicating anyone, it’s just my personal opinion. Similarly, fans should also consider a player’s personal life and give them enough space as well.
What do you think is your best performance in first-class cricket?
No specific performance. I always try to perform for the team. But I have a specific target, and that is, I want to take 10 wickets in an innings. I have taken nine wickets in an innings but still 10 wickets is something I have never achieved. So it is my target in first-class cricket.
You were once the highest wicket-taker for the Tigers in ODIs. Any particular performance that is special to you?
Quite a few actually. Bowling performance against India at the 2007 World Cup is quite special to me. Another one is against South Africa.
DOB: June 15, 1982 (Age: 35 years)
Major teams: Bangladesh, Asia XI, Khulna, Rangpur Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Prime Bank South Zone