The one-Test promise from Bangladesh, Mahmudur Rahman Rana (previously known as Bikash Ranjan Das) was a fiery left-arm fast bowler whose only flirtation with international cricket was the inaugural Test match against India at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in November 2000.
He rattled the wickets of Sadagoppan Ramesh, his only victim, while he bowled at a decent pace with movement. However, injuries as well as inconsistent performances in domestic cricket never let this Kishoreganj-born fast bowler's promising career take off.
Slowly and eventually he detached himself from the cricket circle seeking a better future. Rana, who converted his religion to Islam in mid-2000s, has been off the face of media or any other cricketing activities. Currently he is a successful banker as he makes time from his busy schedule to talk to Dhaka Tribune and share his memories and regrets from the past.
You were only 18 years old when you played the Test, what were you looking forward to?
Yes, I was quite young back then. Probably I was the youngest player of the side at that time and bowling to great batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are the best moments of my life. But playing the inaugural Test match for Bangladesh and being a part of history is special to me.
What went wrong for you as you lost your way after playing the first and only Test match for Bangladesh?
Actually I had a back injury which has been the main reason for me to lose track. But still I think we did not get enough facilities and monitoring back then. Things have changed now and you can see Mashrafe [bin Mortaza]. He is taken care of by the board and despite several major injuries, he is still playing at his best.
And there was a bit of anger in me which forced me to leave cricket and concentrate on my education. I wanted to establish myself in a different field.
You were considered as one of the quickest left-arm pacers at that time. How do you rate the current pace bowling lot, especially Mustafizur Rahman who also happens to be a left-arm pacer?
Mustafiz is a young cricketer and undoubtedly he is one of the biggest assets for Bangladesh. But the most important thing, which he needs to follow, is discipline both on and off the field. As far I know Mustafiz is a good boy and it is the duty of the board to take extra care of him. Yet at the same time he also needs to continue his education as it helps one to improve mentally and also skills-wise.
Are you still in touch with local and international cricket?
To be frank, there is a lot of pressure on the bankers due to the long office hours. However, I follow cricket matches on TV and being a cricket player, it is in my blood. Our bank has a cricket team and we often play matches which helps me to be in touch with cricket.
Do you have any interest of getting attached to the Bangladesh Cricket Board and work for development or any other way?
I am not interested at the moment and one of the main reasons for not joining the BCB is, I think, I will not be able to work as per my wish. It is better to stay away from that. However, I am associated with a cricket academy in Kishoreganj where Mehrab Hossain Opee and [Hasibul Hossain] Shanto are also involved as coaches.
Are you still in touch with some of the members of the inaugural Test side?
Yes, sometimes I speak with [Aminul Islam] Bulbul bhai and meet him whenever he comes to Bangladesh. Besides him, I keep in touch with one or two members of the side that played the inaugural Test.
How do you see the progress the Bangladesh cricket team has made in the last 15 years?
Bangladesh cricket has improved in the last two or three years and there is a huge change in the current national team. We now have a couple of world class cricketers in the side who can turn things around single-handedly in a match. But still, we have a long way to go and I think we have to play more games in order to develop more and gain experience.
Since you are a banker, can you tell us how the corporate people react upon finding out that a former national cricketer is their colleague?
To be honest, whatever I am today is only because of cricket. I receive a great amount of honour for that. There are some people who recognise me but at the same time there are a few who have no idea about me.