"Alhamdulillah overall, it has been a satisfying 15 years." Mushfiqur Rahim said, expressing pleasure at his long journey in international cricket while talking to The Daily Star's Ekush Tapader.
On this day (May 26) back in 2005, a 16-year-old Mushfiqur made his debut against England at the Lord's Test.
There was a sorry batting tale from the Tigers as they were bundled out for 108 fifteen minutes after lunch. The wreckers were the four pacers with Matthew Hoggard claiming 4-42, Steve Harmison 2-38, Andrew Flintoff 2-22 and Simon Jones 1-4.
Mushfiqur, who scored 19 on his debut, was undone by a gem of a delivery from Hoggard with the ball leaving the batsman late only to knock the off-stump but the Bogura lad at least showed the temperament and technique needed to survive in a five-day game. He also struck three out of 12 boundaries in the Bangladesh innings.
The first ever double-centurion in Test cricket for Bangladesh, Mushfiqur has grown from strength to strength over a 15-year international career. He is an example of an ideal cricketer who has the determination, hunger and ability to work hard and achieve the unachievable.
"It's not that easy to spend 15 years in international cricket playing three formats in a country like Bangladesh. There are not many who played such a long time in our country. Maybe there were some in the past when there was not much international cricket. But if you consider the volume of cricket now as we play nonstop cricket for 9-10 months in a year it's amazing. There are not only international cricket, we also have to play in the other competitions like BPL, NCL, BCL etcs, so there is a question of fitness and consistency," said Mushfiqur.
"It's human nature as we want more in our life. If someone has a car he thinks about another. But I have some satisfaction over what I did in the last 6-7 years. But undoubtedly the start was not something as I expected. I am now happy as I have started to get the fruits of my hard work, especially from 2012. If I can continue my current form then hopefully, I will be able to tell you in the end of my career that 'I am more than happy'."
The 33-year-old also became the first wicket-keeper batsman in Test history to score two double-hundreds when he hit a brilliant unbeaten 219 against Zimbabwe but the maiden double hundred against Sri Lanka in Galle has a special significance to him.
"I my career the first double hundred is something special to me and I think it has special significance for our country's cricket. We needed the belief that we could also make a double hundred. As a captain beating Australia and England pleased me most. Beating Sri Lanka in the 100th Test is also something special in my long journey," Mushfiqur, who so far played 70 Tests, 218 ODIs and 86 T20Is, said identifying most satisfying successes during the time.
"There were lots of ups and downs. I have learnt a lot when I was dropped from the team in 2009. As a captain losing the Asia Cup final by two runs was the most painful in my last 15 years' journey," he added.
****You can read the full interview of the dependable cricketer on the print version of this newspaper on May 29, 2020.