'We can surely pull it off'
Khaled Mahmud and Bangladesh stand on the brink of history. Tomorrow, if they claim the remaining four wickets in the third and final Test against Pakistan at Multan, they will secure that elusive first Test victory in 24 attempts
'We can surely pull it off'
Exclusive Interview - September 5, 2003
Khaled Mahmud and Bangladesh stand on the brink of history. Tomorrow, if they claim the remaining four wickets in the third and final Test against Pakistan at Multan, they will secure that elusive first Test victory in 24 attempts. In an exclusive interview with Wisden CricInfo, Mahmud tells Nagraj Gollapudi that he is calm and eagerly waiting to get on with the job.
How are you feeling at the moment?
I feel quite relaxed actually, but at the same time I am tense about what is going to happen tomorrow.
Do you think you can pull at it off?
I give us an 80 per cent chance. We are near and if we can continue with what we are doing so far – getting the ball to pitch on the right spot – then yes, we can surely pull it off.
So what will be your strategy now?
Our main weapons are [Mohammad] Rafique, Manjirul [Islam] and myself. We have to maintain our rhythm as we have been doing over the last couple of days and pitch it right. Inzy [Inzamam-ul-Haq], definitely, is the most dangerous, but at the same time we should realise that we have to get another four wickets and they have to get 114 runs. So we have to remain focused.
Most of your team are young. Do you think they will be excited?
Yes, but I have told them that we shouldn't look at the end result. We should go in there and focus on our individual jobs without letting nerves creep in. For us results don't matter, it is becoming consistent which should be our main concern.
How is the wicket behaving?
The wicket is a true one. If the bowler fails to pitch it in the right spot, the batsman will make hay. But if the bowlers does put it in the right place, he stands to make profit.
Suddenly we have seen a changed Khaled Mahmud: intense and getting on with the job with renewed vigour?
I knew if I didn't perform my neck was on the line. And it is the performance that defines a player. Forget me being the captain, it doesn't matter if I am not performing as a player. But it was not that I was not trying, I was giving it my best, but with no luck. I was getting bad umpiring decisions and catches were dropped off my own bowling. So nothing was working properly. But in Australia I started getting my rhythm back and now I have improved further here, in Pakistan.
You had just one wicket under your belt before this series and now you've already have bagged ten wickets so far in this one?
I haven't gone out of my way to carry out some improvement. I am just bowling the right length and line and am being lucky.
Where did this sudden hunger in the Bangladeshi team arise from?
Well, the hunger has always been there, only that it has become conspicuous from the Australian tour. Plus the constant media-punching about our Test status helped too. We wanted to prove to the world that we deserve that status and Dav [Whatmore] has helped us with his that.
Do you think you will have a good night's sleep?
I know one thing, I will be thinking about what to do tomorrow and I hope to catch some sleep.
Has this kind of a moment ever arrived in you life?
I don't think so. The closest was the 1999 victory over Pakistan in the World Cup was the nearest, but this is a different kind of situation.
Finally, whatever happens tomorrow, where does Bangladesh cricket go from here?
My ambition is to see Bangladesh climb the ICC ladder and reach the seventh rung at least before I retire. We need to believe that we can attain that position.