Roqibul Hasan, skipper of Mohammedan Sporting Club Limited in the Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League 2016-17 season, scored 190 against arch-rival Abahani Limited to become the highest scorer in a List A match in Bangladesh. Roqibul also holds the distinction of being Bangladesh's maiden first-class triple-centurion when he smashed 313 for Barisal division against Sylhet division in March, 2007. Following his record-breaking 190, Roqibul gave an exclusive interview to Dhaka Tribune
, sharing his thoughts on his current form, future plans, his premature retirement and his days as a Bangladesh cricketer. Here are the excerpts:
You are the only Bangladeshi triple centurion in first-class cricket. Now, you have broken another record by scoring 190 in a List A match recently. How do you feel?
It feels good. Actually I don’t play for records. Team were my first concern. I always play for the team. I always try to play my best cricket. After scoring big, I always try to justify innings and ask myself: did I play according to my potential? That answer is more important to me than records. I believe I have plenty to offer as a cricketer. And I am trying to achieve those. And one more thing, I always try to set a good example for the young batsmen and inspire them out there. I always try to give them belief and motivation that, okay, Roqibul bhai scored 300 in NCL (National Cricket League) or 190 in a 50-over match, so we can score 350 or 400. Or we can score 200 in 50 overs. I always try to find what I am giving to Bangladesh cricket.
Do you harbour any hope of returning to the national team?
I have no specific goals. I just want to enjoy my cricket and score as many runs as I can. I just concentrate on my batting. I want to improve more. Last year I scored 700 runs. This season, I want to score even more. If I do well then call-up will come automatically.
[caption id="attachment_64032" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
Roqibul raises his bat after reaching his century against Abahani in the DPL earlier this month MD Manik/DHAKA TRIBUNE
During your days as an international cricketer, you were often criticised for your low strike rate (61.32 in 55 ODIs). With that said, recently you have improved your strike rate in the domestic arena. How did it happen?
Look, in my international career so far, I was given a specific role. The role was anchoring the innings. If two-three early wickets fall, I have to steady the innings and build the momentum later. Yes, it (strike-rate) would have been better but I think that (anchoring innings) was probably a reason for my relatively low strike-rate. But I am also saying it (strike-rate) could have been better. And in these years I have worked on my batting with specific areas and it worked. In the domestic level, I have plenty of freedom and opportunities to play attacking shots. That’s why the strike rate has improved.
You decided to retire prematurely in 2010. Looking back in time, do you think it was a mistake?
It was an emotional decision. And obviously it was a mistake. My teammates, players and family members told me not to retire. But I took the decision emotionally. At that time, I scored a century in the first innings and remained not out in the second against England during a tour match in Chittagong. After the century, I was high on emotion and took the decision emotionally. Everyone has to pay for mistakes and probably I had to pay the price for my mistake as the player who replaced me at that time played really well and cemented his place in the national team. And eventually I lost my spot. Later I got call-up but could not capitalise the chance. It is also true that after that incident in 2010, my performance was probably not upto the mark. I did not managed to score a lot of runs. It was an important factor also. But yes, probably that decision (retirement) played a role too.
You were the top run-scorer in DPL last year with 719 runs. This season, you have already scored 422 so far. Do you think you made any improvements in your batting in recent times?
I think I have worked on my mindset in these seasons. I have discussed it with my coach [Nazmul Abedeen] Fahim sir and we worked on it. At the moment I am enjoying my batting. Last year I scored 700 (741) runs. But I want to score more this season. This positive mindset is important for a player in order to perform.
Who is your mentor?
From the U-17 level, my mentor is Fahim sir. He is my coach, mentor, and in a sense, the guardian of my career.
Any role models from Bangladesh?
I was fond of [Aminul Islam] Bulbul bhai, [Minhajul Abedin] Nannu bhai. I have followed the batting of Alok Kapali and Tushar Imran and also played with them. And from abroad, I was fond of Mohammad Yousuf. I even played against him in Pakistan. He gave me tips about my batting. And later, I liked AB de Villiers. But from my childhood, my favourite was Sachin Tendulkar.
[caption id="attachment_64035" align="aligncenter" width="594"]
Roqibul, playing a sweep shot here against England, believes former coach Jamie Siddons had a big impact on Bangladesh cricket INTERNET
When you were in the national side, Australia's Jamie Siddons was the head coach. What impact did he have on your career?
I believe Siddons left a great mark in Bangladesh cricket. In his tenure, players started to believe that Bangladesh can win abroad. We won series against West Indies abroad. We won ODIs away from home. Siddons made a positive change in our mindset. And from the batting point of view, he was outstanding. If you look at Tamim [Iqbal], Shakib [al Hasan], Mushfiqur [Rahim], [Mahmudullah] Riyad and myself, Siddons worked with our batting and basics closely. All these players benefited so much in terms of batting from Siddons. Bangladesh have benefited a lot as these four batsmen are serving Bangladesh strongly. We are reaping the success of Siddons' hard work. Our current coach [Chandika] Hathurusingha is brilliant as well. Hathurusingha actually made further progress and produced more positive results. But I believe it all started in Siddons' time. He left a great impact in our cricket.
How tough it is to script a comeback to the national side after getting dropped?
So tough. Here in Mirpur we have some facilities. But in divisional or district level, there is a lack of facilities. When a player gets dropped, he has to score lots of runs or take lots of wickets to get back into the team. With such limited facilities it is really difficult to get back to the national team. And now, Bangladesh team are more challenging and competitive so it becomes more tough. Besides that, I think players should not be ignored just because of their age. I believe if a player plays consistently well and if he is fit enough then he should be given chances in top level. Age should not be a barrier. Look, both Misbah[ul-Haq] and Younis [Khan] played around 40 and played dominantly. We have to look into this thing as well.
What is your take on the prospects of your side Mohammedan in the DPL?
We are a very balanced side. Team are performing well. As far as individual performances are concerned, we are still not upto the mark. But I hope we can do well in the coming matches. Personally I feel proud to play for a big club like Mohammedan. I have been given the role of the captain and I am enjoying it. I am looking forward to perform better for my team.