Bangladesh has got their new star in the World Cup now. The star is Mohammad Mahmudullah. The boy from Mymensingh had caught the attention of the cricket world by scoring two back to back hundreds in two different countries, a feat nobody had achieved in the history of the World Cup. The shy guy Mahmudullah is a family person who finds more joy whenever he is with his family.
Excerpts from an exclusive interview:
Q: Consecutive hundreds in World Cup. When you could sense that it might come, were you nervous or excited?
MM: Neither I was nervous, nor I was excited. I just wanted to do my duty. And when I reached the nineties, I said to myself that the opportunity has come, I should do my best to get the best out of it. That was a crucial moment for our innings since Mushfiq had just gone back to pavilion and Sabbir had just reached the middle. I needed to stay. But Sabbis was aggressive from ball one. So, that helped me and when I reached my century, I thought, I should be more aggressive now. I know how difficult it is for a batsman to come at that stage and go straight after the bowling. That is why I was quite impressed by sabbir’s batting, too.
Q: So, those three boundaries, immediately after you had reached hundred, was a reaction of being relieved?
MM: I do not think so. I got some loose deliveries which were asking for that. I am thankful to Allah that I got to place the balls in the gap.
Q: Before the World Cup, you did not a have a single one day hundred. Now you have two, that too in back-to-back matches and in different countries, which is unique. How could everything change so suddenly?
MM: I do not know really. I have seen the worst of times. You all know how those days were. I was thinking that if I can extend this so-called good time, it would be better for the team. So, I focused on staying at the wicket and keep on going.
Q: When you came to the middle, the situation was really tough.
MM: Well, I knew that the conditions were not at all favourable. But once the first 10-12 overs gone, I was sure that there will be some loose deliveries as well. We had to wait for those deliveries. I did not want to take any risks initially. Soumya sarkar, too, was batting really well.
Q: Did you tell anything to him?
MM: Not really. He is an attacking batsman who loves to go after the bowling. We just tried to ensure that we shall wait and go after the bad balls only.
Q: Now Bangladesh will be playing against India in the quarter final.
MM: That will be a real tough match. They are playing brilliant cricket now. But we have a good team, too. If we can play at the best of our ability, anything can happen.
Q: There will be close to 80-thousand Indian supporters in the MCG gallery. In the match against South Africa, they got the overwhelming support.
MM: See, whenever we play for Bangladesh, we know that 16 crores of people will be with us. That will be the same on the day of the quarter final, too. And once you are in the middle, we can only think about the next delivery and nothing else.
Q: Now you are the star of this Bangladesh side, too. Earlier, you used to be playing the role of the second hero!
MM: I have never thought of being in the limelight or be the star. Yes, I wanted to play at the best of my abilities for the national team and help the team win more matches. I knew once I can do that, everything will be okay. And I am following the same now. It was important to win the match against England. When you are playing a team sport, it’s always the team first.
Q: Shakib Al Hasan said that if Sangakkara could make four hundreds on trot, why Mahmudullah cannot make a hattrick of hundreds?
MM: Sangakkara is genuinely world class cricketer. Four consecutive hundreds in World Cup! Unbelievable! And what a career he is having! One of the all time greats. I have tried my best in the last two matches as I had tried the same in other matches too. Now, by the grace of the God, I am getting runs. I’ll be trying to continue doing the same but really do not k now what’s there in future for me!