Razzak draws strength from career setbacks
Abdur Razzak, the Bangladesh left-arm spinner, thought he would miss the chance to complete 200 ODI wickets in the three-match series against Sri Lanka. After going wicketless in the first game and the second one being abandoned, he ended up getting all five wickets required to reach the landmark in the final game in Pallekele, a testament to his persistence over difficult periods in his career.
"After the first two matches, I thought I would have to wait a long time for another opportunity," Razzak said. "It came in the third game and I was extremely happy. The moment when I took the fifth wicket was unforgettable. Before the series I had it in mind to reach the 200-wicket mark."
Razzak's numbers, and stature as the most experienced bowler in the line-up have made him a valuable member of the ODI side. All but one of his four-wicket hauls came in defeats while all four of his five-fors have been in wins.
Yet, it is his experience with the darker side of international cricket that has taught him the lesson of not taking even an ordinary spell of bowling for granted. Razzak was twice pulled up for chinks in his bowling action, the second occasion costing him almost a year's international cricket. He was first reported in 2004 and four years later told to correct his action.
"I am one of those few players from Bangladesh who has seen some really critical periods in their career. When the bowling action was questioned, everyone spoke to me as if my career was over. I was strong on the inside. I didn't think my career was over.
"I think that has given me a lot of strength as a person. I love taking up challenges, I can't hide away from bowling in certain periods because it doesn't make me comfortable. I like to go through these difficult experiences during matches or otherwise, so that I know what to do the next time it happens," he said.
Razzak has experienced memorable moments too. After taking three wickets on debut against minnows Hong Kong, he was impressive against Pakistan in his next game. Problems with his bowling action kept him out till 2006 when he became a regular for another three years. During this time he was instrumental in Bangladesh's progression to the 2007 World Cup's Super Eights.
Razzak was the Man of the Match against West Indies in his comeback game in 2009 after correcting his action. It was followed by a hat-trick against Zimbabwe in 2010, and through ups and downs, he has remained the backbone of a side short on experience.
"It is hard to make a distinction on which has been my best moment. There have been so many good moments. But I think I have enjoyed the fact that the 200 wickets have not taken too long. I have done it in 141 innings which gives me a lot of pride."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here