September 10, 2001

Our cricket is heading in the right direction: Aminul Islam

Aminul Islam is one of the stars of the Bangladesh cricket team. The right-handed batsman, who captained Bangladesh in the 1999 World Cup, spoke to CricInfo during their recent tour of Sri Lanka.

"It's a nice place to be and a lovely place to play cricket. My previous visit was in 1997 and it's good to be here," he enthused. "This side is one of the best in the business and I am glad to be playing against them."

Even though Bangladesh were soundly beaten in the inaugural Test Match between the two countries (as has happened in all the five Test Matches they have played in so far) Aminul, who's popularly known as Bulbul, believes their cricket is on the right path.

"I feel we are heading in the right direction," says the 33-year-old. "We've got a good structure, which is very important. The Board has done well to hire good Sri Lankan coaches over there. We might lose Test Matches by thumping margins, but that doesn't matter as long as we learn things. Slowly we'll draw matches and in five or ten years time hopefully we can regularly win."

He made his ODI debut in 1988 and from then on Bangladesh has played 40 one-games and he's missed just two of them due to injury. During the long career he's also captained Bangladesh before they achieved Test status,

"I have enjoyed my captaincy to the core," says Aminul. "The two victories in the World Cup were so special and so were the wins in the warm up games against Essex and Middlesex."

And among those wins for this stylish batsman the victory against Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup was the greatest achievement, "The victory against Pakistan was like winning the World Cup for us."

Aminul feels that the win gave him greater self-belief, "Whenever I am down I go back to that moment and it gives me so much of confidence. After all, if we can beat Pakistan then we can beat anyone in the world."

When the country was granted Test status he lost his job to Naimur Rahman who had the honour of captaining Bangladesh in the Inaugural Test Match. But no one could steal the limelight from Aminul as he made a classy 145 against India on debut. That was the third highest score by a player on debut.

"That 145 against India was a memorable innings and undoubtedly my best knock," he believes. "Firstly, it was a historical Test and secondly I was out of form at the time. I was lucky to play in that Test and I am glad that I made the most out of the opportunity."

"I now want to play at least 25 Test Matches and then I'll see how things are going for me and retire. When I retire I want to work as a coach in my country. This country has given me so much and it's my duty to give something back."