Razzak overcomes early 'nerves' for memorable return

Abdur Razzak celebrates a wicket AFP

Abdur Razzak was understandably nervous before delivering his first ball on the first morning of the Dhaka Test against Sri Lanka, but it wasn't as bad as his ODI or Test debut more than 10 years ago. Once he overcame the early nervousness, Razzak got into the sort of groove he has become accustomed to in the domestic circuit off late.

Razzak removed Dimuth Karunaratne in his first spell of five overs before starting his second with two wickets off successive deliveries. Danushka Gunathilaka got out to a poor shot, giving a catch to mid-off before Razzak ripped a beautiful delivery past Dinesh Chandimal to hit the off stump. He soon removed Kusal Mendis with a similar delivery, as he made his comeback after missing 22 Bangladesh Tests a memorable one.

"Obviously, international cricket is at a different level compared to domestic tournaments so there was a bit of nerve at the start but it slowly went away," Razzak said. "The heart was beating quite fast but not like earlier in my career. There's always excitement, from the time I got selected to marking my run-up. Since you are playing for your country, you think differently."

Razzak, who played only 12 Tests between 2006 and 2014, took 244 wickets in first-class matches since being dropped four years ago. During this period, the second-highest wicket-taker, Sunzamul Islam, was 93 wickets behind him. Razzak took four 10-wicket hauls and was the highest wicket-taker in the calendar years 2015, 2016 and 2017 in the Bangladesh first-class circuit.

He said that the big haul of wickets in the last four years of domestic first-class cricket helped him transform into a better bowler in the format. Razzak also credited those who picked him at this stage of his career, which he said offered hope to many senior players like him.

"The biggest thing is performance, at whichever level, your confidence starts to go up," he said. "The more you play first-class cricket, you get into the habit of being in the longer-format game.

"I definitely feel that in the current climate in our cricket, when fitness is so important, I must thank the BCB for giving me the chance now. It means that nobody should ever give up. Everyone's chances remain alive."