Mahmud takes last walk

Having been booed off the field by supporters against England in 2003, Khaled Mahmud received a standing ovation at Bogra today, as he took his last walk back to the pavilion in international cricket. The much-criticized former Bangladesh captain scored a fighting 36 against Sri Lanka as his curtain call before hanging up his trainers as far as the international game is sorted.

Mahmud, 34, took his guard at the crease with his team in familiar trouble at 37/5. He played with courage, pride and general desire to give one last meaningful contribution for his country. Bangladesh only reached 118 all out and Sri Lanka cantered home by 5 wickets. Mahmud bowled 2 over in the innings, but went wicketless for 15 runs.

A veteran of Bangladeshi cricket, Khaled Mahmud played 77 One Day International matches and 12 Tests for his country. Despite his vast experience, Mahmud finishes with a rather paltry record as a player and as captain. In ODI cricket he scored 991 runs (14.36 average) and 67 wickets (42.76), and his Test record featured just 226 runs (12.09) and 13 wickets (64.00).

Mahmud led Bangladesh in 10 Tests and 15 ODIs, losing all 25 matches. Considering, however, that victory has always been an extremely precious commodity for Bangladesh, statistics are hardly the acid test of his leadership ability.

Only once did Mahmud ever cross 50 at the highest level, with an even half-century against Zimbabwe at Dhaka in a 2001/02 meeting. On his ODI debut, however, he scored 47 against India. For the majority of his career, Khaled Mahmud averaged over 100 with the ball in Test cricket. In fact, after 7 of his 12 Tests, he had taken just 1 wicket at an average of 406. Mahmud’s average only dropped under the century mark in his 10th Test, when he took 4/37 and 3/68 against Pakistan. He took just one other wicket in his Test career – Marcus Trescothick for 60 in 2003.

Mahmud will continue to play club cricket, where he has had a fair level of success. Given that this is not the first time that he has hinted at retirement, there will be few surprised if Mahmud is indeed to return to contribute once more to Bangladeshi cricket.

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