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Old October 24, 2011, 04:14 PM
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An interview with Rubel Hossain by Rabeed Imam(TC)
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On the fast track
Rabeed Imam
04-June-2009

Question (Q): How did you come into cricket?

Rubel Hossain (RH): I have been playing cricket since I was very young in my hometown Bagerhat. Mostly it was with a taped tennis ball but I then made it to the local league. I was brought to Dhaka for playing in the third division by one of the elders of my locality three-four years ago and have appeared for different clubs.

Q: When did your lucky break come?

RH: It was in the Grameenphone Pacer Hunt programme a couple of years ago. I clocked 82 miles per hour and was enrolled in the BCB’s Pace Academy. I made the Bangladesh Under 19 side in 2007 and played for the Academy and the A Team before getting the national team call up earlier this year.

Q: Have you always bowled quick?

RH: Yes but I wasn’t as quick as I am now. Infact I my fastest ball was about 72mph in the first Grameenphone Pacer Hunt and I wasn’t selected. Then almost all of a sudden I found out that my pace had increased and in the next Pacer Hunt a year later I was bowling at 82mph. Honestly speaking I have no idea how I got faster.

Q: You are only 19 and can get even quicker…

RH: I hope so. Here my quickest was clocked at 92mph (against Sri Lanka). I want to become even faster. That’s a goal.

Q: You come across as a very gentle person and not the typical all aggro fast bowler…

RH: Well I like to shatter the stumps. I have hit a few with bouncers in domestic cricket and some had to retire hurt. I love bowling bouncers and enjoy the sight when I get batsmen in trouble. In terms of outward aggression, well I had a tendency of bullying and beating up the younger ones in our extended family and I received a few beatings myself. I don’t do that anymore (laughs). That’s probably as wild as I got!

Q: How have things changed for you as everything has happened very fast

RH: That’s right. I have to pinch myself sometimes when I see the players around me. Masrafe (Mortaza) has always been my idol and now I am bowling with him. Razzak (Abdur) is from my town and he is a celebrity there. I happened to speak to him when he was awarded a reception in Bagerhat after the 2007 World Cup. That was a momentous occasion for me.

Many things have changed. I never had proper training until I made it through the Pacer Hunt programme. I used to play football a lot and was a regular in the local football league in Bagerhat. That was my only fitness routine. Otherwise I would play cricket, eat and sleep. But since joining the Academy I have learned about the fitness regime and gym work. The facilities are also fantastic and I owe a lot to pace bowling coaches Sarwar Imran and Champaka (Ramanayake).

I get told all the time by the seniors in the team and the coaches to understand and value the ability I have and not get distracted. I respect their views and try to conduct myself in the appropriate manner.

Q: What was your first meeting like with your idol?

RH: Well I bowled against him in a local competition match in his hometown Narail. I needed three balls to get his wicket and it was with a bouncer. I had expected to hear a few words but he never said a thing. I finally managed to draw enough courage to speak to him when I was called up for the Bangladesh side. He is fantastic cricketer and a wonderful person.

Q: How supportive is your family towards your cricket

RH: Very supportive, especially now. I have to stay away from home a lot and they understand. I could not have become a cricketer without the support of my mother who has always been on my side. In the beginning my father was not very approving of me playing all the time but mom always protected me. Now the whole family stays glued to the television when I am playing.

Q: How have you enjoyed England so far?

RH: This is my second visit after the A tour in 2008. It has gone well for me so far. I am working on my slower balls, the yorkers and also my line. You need to have variations but I guess pace is my main asset and I will always strive to bowl quicker.

Q: What are your interests apart from cricket?

RH: I have a fascination for racing bikes. I wanted to buy one as young people in my division (Khulna) are crazy about bikes but I have been advised by teammates and seniors to take it easy. Everyone remembers how Manzural Islam and Sajjadul lost their lives in a motorbike crash in 2007.

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT HIM

Masrafe Mortaza, Bangladesh vice captain

“He belongs to a rare breed. There are very few who can bowl at 90 miles an hour in world cricket and he has been pushing that mark consistently. That’s high class. I love bowling with him and I wish him a long career and hope he plays a lot of cricket for Bangladesh. He is the kind of bowler who may go for a few runs but he can also win you matches. I like his aggression. He just needs to maintain himself because fast bowling is hard work.”

Champaka Ramanayake, Bangladesh bowling coach

“He is getting better all the time. This is the time to encourage him and give him confidence. He will get quicker also. He trains hard and does everything we ask of him.”

http://www.tigercricket.com/viewNews.aspx?newsID=724

(Courtesy : Murad Vhai)
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