'Had no idea about the world record' - Muktar
Muktar Ali said he would have slammed a few more big hits had someone told him that he had equaled the record for most sixes in a first-class innings, during his 168 that helped Rajshahi Division beat Chittagong Divison by 403 runs in an NCL match. Only three other batsmen - Andrew Symonds, Jesse Ryder and Graham Napier - have hit 16 sixes in a first-class innings.
Despite the regret, however, Muktar said he was happy to finally hit a first-class century after missing an opportunity in a previous game. Against Chittagong, he batted for less than three hours and took 148 balls to make 168 runs before he was finally dismissed by Ali Akbar, caught behind by Irfan Sukkur in the 136th over.
"I am regretting my dismissal because I had no idea about the world record," Muktar said. "Why won't I feel sad about it? If I had known that 16 sixes equals a world record, I would have hit at least five-six more sixes. I could do anything I wanted at that stage.
"There were two reasons for going after a century in this innings. I had missed out in a previous game when I got out for 96. I was so sad, I couldn't sleep for three nights. I just wanted to score the century as soon as possible. The other reason was Sanjamul Islam, my good friend and roommate. He was teasing me after he made 172 the previous day, but I never realised I would make such a big score."
Muktar's main role in the team is that of a fast bowler and, with the new ball in hand, he dismissed Chittagong captain Nafees Iqbal and Mahbubul Karim off his first two deliveries in the game. Mominul Haque avoided the hat-trick, but was caught behind in Muktar's next over.
He wasn't the only star for Rajshahi, however. While batting, Muktar shared a 224-run partnership with Farhad Reza, who won Player of the Match for his career-best 259. His stand of 347 with Sanjamul was the catalyst for Rajshahi's revival in the game and also equaled the record for the second-highest partnership for the seventh wicket in first-class cricket. shared by West Indies' Denis Atkinson and Clairmonte Depeiza, against Australia in the 1955 Bridgetown Test.
Records, though, were the last thing on Farhad's mind as he prepared to get his side out of a hole at 77 for 6.
"There was no thought about scoring a double-hundred or setting a partnership record. I just wanted to stay at the wicket, and keep Sanjamul along for company. We tried to minimise our mistakes and not give away a wicket at that stage," Farhad said.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84