'Good as long as you enjoy it'
There is a group of cricketers like Aftab Ahmed, who have reached a stage where they made the career switch from a player to a coach and Abdur Razzak is from the same age group -- but at 36 he is still setting benchmarks for youngsters to aspire to in the domestic circuit.
The cricketing culture of Bangladesh discourages players of a certain vintage to chase the dreams. After 30, they are labelled as being past their primes, especially when it comes to consideration for the national team and even in the domestic leagues.
Left-arm spinner Razzak has remained one of the very few exceptions in Bangladesh cricket and after becoming the first Bangladeshi to pick 500 first-class wickets last year, the veteran cricketer also became the first to pick 400 List A wickets yesterday. His drive and constant urge to improve saw him make a brief Test comeback in the second Test against Sri Lanka in January 2018.
Razzak, who had 399 wickets in 268 games before yesterday, picked up his first wicket of the game in his first over and ended up bagging four wickets for just 15 runs from his eight overs for Prime Bank Cricket Club against Uttara Sporting Club in the Dhaka Premier League at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
Razzak's good friend and Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was also in the race as he has 391 wickets in 280 games.
Razzak, however, was not aware of the achievement until he was informed by his teammates in the dressing room. He later said that picking up wickets is a different sort of feeling and it has kept him moving forward.
"To be honest I was not aware of the fact that I have picked 400 List A wickets as my teammates informed me later on the ground. Obviously, it feels good as long as you are enjoying the game, which I am, and at the same time it's a totally different feeling when you pick up a wicket. I have never planned or put any pressure on myself, which is the reason I am still enjoying my game," Razzak told The Daily Star yesterday.
The cricketer from Khulna also holds the record for the best bowling figures by a Bangladeshi in List A cricket, which he achieved in 2004 when he picked up seven wickets for 17 runs against Zimbabwe A at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
Razzak also picked up the most five-wicket hauls by a Bangladeshi in List A cricket, with nine fifers. Mohammad Sharif has seven while Mashrafe and Rubel Hossain boast five five-wicket hauls each.
While a possible comeback to the national team must be a factor but there seems to be another as important. Razzak appears to have reached this height because of his mentality of enjoying and loving the game, and that has helped set him apart as perhaps the only one to have broken the age barrier.