He may be famous for the 'Nagin dance', his trademark celebration after scalping wickets on the international circuit, but left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam Apu showed another side to his character during these testing times.
The 28-year-old has been the frontrunner among national cricketers who have stood beside people during the coronavirus pandemic and reflected true sportsmanship through a sense of responsibility.
Nazmul not only showed his humanitarian side but also displayed the signs of a true fighter after himself testing positive for Covid-19 alongside his parents. Nazmul was finally able to return to a normal life yesterday when he tested negative. But even the deadly virus could not shake Nazmul's convictions and the cricketer wants to again return to the front lines and donate blood plasma.
"I am happy to inform you that I tested negative today [Wednesday] as did my parents. It was a difficult time but, by the grace of the Almighty, we managed to recover. Now that I have recovered, I want to donate plasma so that those who are suffering can get treatment," said a determined Nazmul.
Nazmul has been helping those in need ever since he returned to his hometown in an industrial area in Narayanganj after the Dhaka Premier League was postponed in mid-March due to the pandemic.
He has been involved in charitable activities through social media and has enlisted the help of a few friends, including ODI skipper Tamim Iqbal. The cricketer has worked tirelessly with his friends to collect funds, purchase goods and package and deliver goods from a community centre in his locality.
Nazmul even began to stay away from his family in a separate home for about 20 days so that they would not be infecting. He continued helping people during that time.
The left-hander and Tamim Iqbal also came forward to support struggling freedom fighters and provided financial support and daily rations through local Upazila Nirbahi Officers.
"After the DPL was postponed, my friends and I were discussing how we could help the people in our area who were suffering. I didn't just want to help for one or two days. I wanted to take responsibility for those people for at least one month. But I didn't have the finances to support around 500 people. Tamim came forward to support me financially and also provided goods. Mushfiqur Rahim also came forward and joined the cause and donated a sum of money from his auctioned bat. A few of my friends also helped make this happen," Nazmul said.
The initial plan to help 500 people has expanded to 800, but Nazmul -- who may not be a superstar on the pitch, but has certainly boosted his credentials off it -- is trying to manage expectations.
"Obviously, if I had the ability, I would have continued helping people on that scale but I have limitations. I have had to stop since Eid. But people still come to me for help and I try as much I can personally and I will continue to do so silently," he concluded.