The 33-year-old Nipu, a left-handed middle-order batter who also bowls handy medium pace, made international debut for Portugal on August 19 in T20I Tri Series involving Malta and Gibraltar as the other two teams
Bangladeshi cricketer Sirajullah Khadim, better known as Nipu in Dhaka, emerged as the latest cricketer to represent for a national cricket team in Europe.
The 33-year-old Nipu, a left-handed middle-order batter who also bowls handy medium pace, made international debut for Portugal on August 19 in T20I Tri Series involving Malta and Gibraltar as the other two teams.
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Earlier on August 14, Khulna bowler Humayun Kabir Jyoti made emerged in international cricket playing for Sweden.
Nipu in his early days of cricket appeared for Bangladesh in the U-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka in 2006 alongside current Bangladesh stars Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hassan and Tamim Iqbal and in domestic circuit played for Sylhet Division in First Class cricket while featured for various clubs in Dhaka Premier League.
Former Bangladesh High Performance Squad coach Shaun Williams had expected that Nipu would emerge as the next Bangladesh star all-rounder. Williams had arranged a chance for Nipu to play in Australia for the Darwin club in 2007, soon after U-19 World Cup.
“I am still in regular touch with them [Williams, Shakib, Mushfiqur and others]. I spoke to Shakib couple of days back, when he was in the USA. He congratulated me. I also spoke to Mushfiqur. So I never get to miss them honestly, they are always in contact with me,” said Nipu to the media from Lisbon.
While his friends progressed in the arena Nipu was unfortunate. An eye injury picked during a cricket match at Habiganj in 2009 derailed the cricketer from his ambition to become a national level cricketer in Bangladesh.
The injury made Nipu drift away from the game and his dreams and in 2014 for better opportunities in life the former Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishtan [BKSP] student chose to immigrate in Portugal.
“I started playing in Portugal in 2015 but the very start was in 2002 in Bangladesh and gradually played for all age level teams. I was doing well to be honest until the eye injury [while playing a cricket match]. That had put me off the field for a long time,” said Nipu.
“I had contacted the then Bangladesh Cricket Board requesting for support to my injury. I had requested them for help and had told them to come and see my situation in the hospital. But sadly there was no response,” he added.
Nipu alongside playing for Portugal now looks to establish himself as a better cricketer and is eyeing to play Minor County Cricket in England.