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Rajin Saleh retires from first-class cricket

Cricket Coaching School captain Rajin Saleh celebrates his century RisingBD.com

Rajin Saleh has announced his retirement from first-class cricket, bringing an end to one of the longest professional careers in Bangladesh's modern era. He will play his last game in the National Cricket League's (NCL) last-round which begins on November 5. He started his career in the 2000-01 season which was Bangladesh's second first-class season.

Rajin, who played 24 Tests and 147 first-class matches, chose the first day of the Bangladesh-Zimbabwe Test to make the announcement as it is taking place in Sylhet from where he hails, and for whom he has played most of his first-class cricket. He will end his first-class career with 8327 runs, 18 centuries and 42 half-centuries.

"I think this is the right time," an emotional Rajin told ESPNcricinfo. "I want to give back to cricket in the Sylhet region. I want to produce more batsmen. A second generation of batsmen hasn't developed after myself, Alok [Kapali] and [Imtiaz Hossain] Tanna. We have a number of good pace bowlers like [Abu Jayed] Rahi and Khaled [Ahmed], but we need to produce more batsmen for Bangladesh team."

Rajin first shot to limelight in Bangladesh's inaugural Test in 2000 when he took two catches in close-in positions as a substitute fielder. One of them included Sachin Tendulkar's catch, who inside-edged the offspinner Naimur Rahman.

He made his Test debut three years later, against Pakistan in Karachi, and quickly established himself in a shaky middle order. Two of his seven Test fifties came against Australia in the home series in 2006. He played his last Test, also his last international match, two years later, against New Zealand in Dhaka.

He also played 43 ODIs, making a century and six fifties. After Habibul Bashar was ruled out with a finger injury, Rajin led Bangladesh during the 2004 Champions Trophy in England.

Rajin will now focus on coaching; he has been running the South Surma Cricket Academy in Sylhet for the last eight years.