Two cricketers who always gave the impression of being underachievers at the international level for Bangladesh got together to organize an event Saturday, where they formally retired from all forms of the game. Both are now moving into roles with the Bangladesh Cricket Board – further proof that cricket has now grown to support entire careers, and is capable of supporting cricketers through different careers within and around the game till they reach the normal retirement age for people outside sports.
After an introductory programme of a voluntary organisation Pitch Foundation at the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) premises, Nafees and former left-handed spinner Abdur Razzak announced their retirement from cricket.
In the programme, the Cricket Welfare Association of Bangladesh (CWAB) handed them crests.
Former Bangladesh opener Shahriar Nafees Ahmed finally announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. The left-handed batsman said he could not ask for more than what he had achieved as a Bangladesh national team cricketer.
“It’s tough to describe the feeling. I have been thinking for a few days that I won’t play again,” Nafees told the media.
“It’s not hurting me in any way, but the feeling is strange. It feels like I am leaving my school and won’t be able to contribute to my team as a cricketer anymore. But yes, I will be in cricketing activities. I think it’s the right time for me to say goodbye.”
Nafees was inducted into international cricket in 2005 with a Test match against Sri Lanka at Colombo.
He took a little time to be an integral part of the Bangladesh team. In the same year, Nafees got his ODI cap against England in Nottingham.
The left-handed top-order batsman has a record of scoring more than 1,000 ODI runs in a single calendar year, in 2006. He is still the only Bangladeshi cricketer to score a Test century against Australia.
In his 100-match international career, Nafees hit a century in Test and four in ODIs.
And he was Bangladesh’s first T20Is captain. However, after leading the team in their maiden T20I match, Nafees was never selected for the shortest format of the game again.
Nafees also played 124 first-class, 180 List-A and 60 T20 matches and scored 8,141, 5,269 and 1,248 runs with 25 centuries.
“I’m very satisfied with my career. Had I get more chances with the national team, I would have scored some more runs. But still, I am very happy,” Nafees told the media.
“The biggest thing I have achieved is the love of the people. I couldn’t have asked for more love than I have from the people of Bangladesh and the media.”
In his post-retirement life, Nafees will be working as a cricket operation manager at BCB, which he described as a ‘good chance’ to stay with cricket.
‘It’s normal but tough’
“Till yesterday, I was a cricketer. But from now on, I have to say something else as my profession,” former Bangladesh left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak started describing his retirement thoughts with this comment.
The left-arm spinner, who has more than 1400 wickets under his belt, announced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday. He will be moving to a position in BCB as a member of the selection committee.
“I know it’s normal (to say goodbye), but it’s tough for me, it’s not easy for me,” Nafees told the media. “I had been living with cricket since 1994 when I was admitted to BKSP. Now, I have to say goodbye (to cricket). Everyone has to change their life at one point. Still, there is emotion… It’s not easy for me to talk about it now. I can’t express my feelings in words.”
Razzak started his international career back in 2004 with an ODI against Hong Kong in Colombo. He was inducted to Test cricket next year. Razzak was an integral part of Bangladesh national for more than a decade. He was more successful in ODIs than Tests.
The left-handed spinner represented the Tigers in 153 ODIs and bagged 207 wickets with five four-wicket and four five-wicket hauls. He was the first Bangladeshi bowler to have taken more than 200 wickets in ODIs.
“I want to thank my family members who stood by me in every ups and downs. When I wanted to get admitted to BKSP, they agreed. They supported me always, which helped me get into the national team,” Razzak told the media.
Razzak is the only Bangladeshi cricketer to have bagged more than 600 wickets in First-class cricket. He also recorded 41 five-wicket hauls in the longer version of domestic cricket.
“Like everyone else, my career is the most special aspect of my life. It’s something that I can forget. I won’t miss it, but I will surely remember what I have done in the field. Have I been forced to retire, I whould have missed my career. But it was my decision,” Razzak added.
The Cricketer’s Welfare Association of Bangladesh (CWAB) handed a crest to Razzak and Shahriar Nafees, who also announced his retirement on the same day, to mark the occasion of their retirement.