Shadman Islam: ‘We wanted to win the Test for Mahmudullah’

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Shadman’s maiden Test century in Bangladesh’s second innings helped them get into a winning position against Zimbabwe in Harare

According to Bangladesh batter Shadman Islam, the team was so moved by Mahmudullah‘s retirement announcement during the Harare Test against Zimbabwe, that the players felt motivated to win the match and dedicate it to the 35-year old. The young opener who made his maiden century in the second innings, said that they were all taken aback by Mahmudullah’s decision.

“When we heard from (Mahmudullah) Riyad bhai that this was to be his last Test, we got very motivated to do well in the Test. We were all upset. He has done a lot for this team. We wanted to win the match for him. We all decided to dedicate the win for Riyad bhai, and thankfully that’s what happened,” said Shadman, shortly after arriving in Dhaka with the rest of the Test specialists.

Shadman’s response on Mahmudullah’s retirement has, so far, been the most direct from any Bangladesh player. Other Bangladesh players have been glowing in their tribute of Mahmudullah in social media posts after the match. But they have not directly mentioned his retirement, conceivably not to draw the ire of BCB president Nazmul Hassan who criticised Mahmudullah for announcing it midway through a match.

Captain Mominul Haque mumbled a reply when the traveling media asked him repeatedly about the retirement in the post-match post conference in Harare. But he did credit Mahmudullah for his unbeaten 150 that put Bangladesh on top after a difficult start to their batting innings.

Shadman and Najmul Hossain Shanto took full advantage of the 192-run lead, reaching centuries during their 196-run second wicket stand in the second innings. Shanto made 117 while Shadman reached his first ton.

“What makes me happy is that my century helped the team to a Test win. We always believed that we were the better team, even in their conditions. Riyad bhai, Taskin bhai and Mominul bhai made things easier for us with their batting.

“The wicket was slightly different in the second innings, so we believed that we could give Zimbabwe a tough total in the fourth innings,” he said.

Shadman is one of eight cricketers who returned home after the one-off Test. Captain Haque, Shanto, Saif Hassan, Yasir Ali, Nayeem Hasan, Abu Jayed and Ebadat Hossain were the others. They will most likely sit out for the next three months when Bangladesh play plenty of white-ball cricket. The BCB hasn’t announced any red-ball competition.

“One has to come to terms with how things are at the moment. The pandemic is not in anyone’s control,” Shadman said. “There’s no point getting disappointed [with lack of matches]. I will just keep training, and try to play well.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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