'Lost soul' Jahurul finds BPL solace
A teenage prodigy who was once seen as a future Bangladesh captain, Jahurul Islam made his first-class debut as a 16-year old in 2002-03. He had to wait another eight years for a Test debut, against England in 2010. Although he had become a domestic stalwart by then, he could only play a total of 24 matches for Bangladesh across all formats.
Over the last couple of years, he had been a "lost soul." A couple of injuries coincided with his daughter's illness but then came the birth of his son and a change in luck. He recovered from an ankle surgery in November to be fit in time to play in the Bangladesh Premier League.
On Tuesday against Comilla Victorians, Jahurul's unbeaten 62 set up Rangpur Riders' seventh win in the league phase. He became only the fourth local batsman (not in the present senior side) after Junaid Siddique, Yasir Ali and Mohammad Mithun to score a fifty in the competition. His 35 not out and 47 against Dhaka Dynamites and Chittagong Vikings respectively, also played a part in Rangpur's surge to the top of the BPL points table.
Jahurul admitted he didn't think he would get a BPL contract after missing much of the 2015-16 domestic season. "Two injuries in as many years prevented me from playing," he said. "But I was happy with the last operation in Chennai, which was last month. I didn't think anyone would pick me so I am thankful to Rangpur. And now I am getting runs so that always feels good."
Jahurul, 28, also said his ambitions are to just play cricket, and not worry about if he can restart his international career. "I don't think about targeting the Bangladesh team anymore. I was like that when I was a kid, always dreaming to play for Bangladesh. I used to have a lot of fun in training but now it is a part of my life. Now I just try to enjoy playing cricket.
"What happened in the last two years was totally a personal matter," Jahurul said.. "There were some problems with my family. I thought I was getting lost. Now everything is fine."
Mashrafe Mortaza, who was captaining against him on Tuesday and has dealt with family problems himself, could perhaps relate to Jahurul.
"He has batted very well," Mashrafe said. "He got settled at the wicket, hardly made a mistake. I particularly liked the fact that he made runs, because he was going through a tough time in his private life.
"He spent the last two years with his daughter who was sick, taking her to hospital regularly. He was not in the national team for the last two years while we were playing. Now I hope he continues to do well."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84