The international journey of Mahmudullah seems to be on uncertain ground. What began as whispers have turned into loud debates after his exclusion from the Asia Cup lineup. Speculations suggest this team may carry on to the World Cup as well.
The One-Day Internationals (ODIs) were Mahmudullah’s last hope to further his tally of 389 caps, especially after he bid adieu to Test cricket. His removal from the T20I squad due to inconsistent performances and unsatisfactory results as a leader didn’t help either. His stripped T20I captaincy hinted at an uncertain future in that format, even though he was briefly called back for a T20 match against Zimbabwe after the visiting team faced injury woes.
Post the 2022 Asia Cup, Mahmudullah’s T20 journey seemed stagnant. Bangladesh shifted focus to younger talents for the T20 World Cup, now helmed by Shakib al Hasan. Having been dropped from the ODI squad for a tri-series in Ireland, he failed to reclaim his spot for subsequent matches against Ireland and then Afghanistan.
Yet, the 37-year-old remained committed, rigorously training at a recent fitness camp, thereby signaling that his physical condition wasn’t the issue, a point that often led to debates in selection gatherings.
Scoring 17.6 in the Yo-Yo test did not sway the selectors’ decision, leading to criticism of the BCB’s selection committee.
Khaled Mahmud, a previous director for Bangladesh’s team, commented on Tuesday (August 15), dispelling notions of any vendetta against Mahmudullah by the selection committee.
Do you genuinely believe Nanno, Bashar, and Razzak [selection panel members] harbor grudges against Mahmudullah? Razzak and Riyad (Mahmudullah’s nickname) have been teammates. Such conspiracy theories hold no ground, argued Mahmud. There’s likely a strategy in place, and I’m not in a position to question Hathurusingha [Bangladesh’s head coach] regarding his choices.
Why should the World Cup be deemed as Mahmudullah’s last stand? The World Cup concludes in October, and there’s much cricket to play afterward. With his Yo-Yo test score, he can train and aim for another season, he emphasized.
Whenever a player misses out on selection, people hastily proclaim his career’s end. Cricket is Mahmudullah’s livelihood. I’m confident he’ll continue with domestic matches. I’ve faced career setbacks and made comebacks. It’s pointless to blow this out of proportion, Mahmud continued.
Mahmudullah remains a resilient player. A mere team combination or any external factor shouldn’t dishearten him. He’s matured but continues to display the will to compete. Until he declares his retirement, he’s very much in contention because he holds the caliber for international cricket, he elaborated.
Mahmud concluded by emphasizing that athletes should recognize the right moment to retire, as reluctance can deprive them of a fitting farewell. The BCB did present Mahmudullah an opportunity to retire from T20 earlier, which he declined.
I gracefully exited cricket, acknowledging the next generation’s rise. It’s essential for players to identify the right moment. Our connection with cricket was more passion-driven than commercial. I don’t grasp why modern players struggle with the retirement decision, the former captain reflected.