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Cricket news - Mahmudullah returns to bowling in pursuit of Test comeback

Mahmudullah bowls in the nets at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium

Mahmudullah bowls in the nets at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium

Bangladesh Test discard Mahmudullah looked determined to continue his endeavor of fulfilling all the requirements to make a comeback in Tests as he started bowling after a while in the national nets at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

The all-rounder started his Test career as a bowler and then converted into a batsman who could bowl handy off-breaks like Sanath Jayasuriya, Kevin Pietersen, Shoaib Malik, Steve Smith and many more but in the present context it seems he needs to make sure that he is available to roll his arm over if he wants to make a comeback in red-ball cricket.

Mahmudullah made his Test debut in 2009 against the West Indies and made a dream start to his career in whites as though he failed with the bat but produced remarkable bowling figures for a Bangladeshi on debut as he took 8 wickets in the match, including a 5-wicket haul in the second innings to help Bangladesh seal their first ever win abroad.

Mahmudullah's Test career has come to a halt for the time being as the team management asked him to re-think his future in longer-version cricket, shortly after the opening Test against Pakistan in February. He was subsequently axed from red-ball contract.

Mahmudullah's name for a Test comeback cropped up after the opening Test against West Indies at home in January when Shakib al Hasan was ruled out for the second Test due to picking up an injury.

"I want Mahmudullah to play in the Test but he need to bowl (against West Indies)," BCB president Nazmul Hasan told media at that point of time.

However, Mahmudullah could not fill the requirements as he sustained a back injury during the last ODI against West Indies and the back pain even forced him from making himself unavailable as a bowling option during the tour of New Zealand that followed after the Test series against West Indies at home.

According to BCB insiders the right-handed batsman was very much in contention to make the cut during the tour of Sri Lanka after Shakib made him unavailable to take part in the IPL.

"Yes, his (Mahmudullah) name was discussed quite a few times before finalizing the 21-member squad for the Sri Lanka tour but the problem is that you cannot carry such a senior player and make him sit in the bench," a member close to the development told Cricbuzz.

Bangladesh called back Shuvagato Hom in the 21-member squad that travelled to Sri Lanka after a gap of five years and though he failed to make the cut in the Test squad one of the basic criterion of his inclusion was that he can bowl few overs and bat down the order, a thing Mahmudullah was doing in white ball for years before being left in wilderness.

So, it was a pleasant surprise to see Mahmudullah bowling in full rhythm in the nets with fellow members of the 21-member ODI squad for the upcoming three-match series against Sri Lanka, scheduled from May 23.

''I am doing fine (there is no pain),'' Mahmudullah told Cricbuzz on Monday when his attention was drawn regarding the back pain while returning back to the dressing room after completing his half-an-hour bowling session.

In a similar situation earlier in his career, Mahmudullah tried to bowl with a different action but that was not the case this time round as he managed to bowl in the same manner like the way he used to and at times troubled the batsmen with his variations.

BCB chief physician Debashish Chowdhury said that the all-rounder is the best person to judge whether he can bowl or not.

''Look he had completed a rehabilitation program before going to New Zealand but he didn't bowl there. We feel he is the best person to judge whether he can bowl or not how he wants to manage it (back pain). If he doesn't feel any pain he can always bowl,'' said Debashish.

Coach Mizanur Rahman, who is in-charge of the camp due to the absence of Russell Domingo as he is fulfilling his responsibility with the Test squad, said that he was quite impressed with the way Mahmudullah bowled in the nets.

"He was not uncomfortable at all with his bowling and he was enjoying it," said Mizanur.

"He was bowling in good channel and looked quite sharp to be honest. We are all aware that with time he had turned into a batsman who can bowl off-spin but honestly speaking I feel he is a much better bowler than how we rate him," he said.

Bangladesh national selector Habibul Bashar heaved a sigh of relief as Mahmudullah is back into bowling as he feels he is someone with a golden arm.

"He (Mahmudullah) had some kind of injury but now he has recovered and started bowling and that is very good news as we can have another added option for an all-rounder," Habibul told Cricbuzz.

"Mahmudullah is someone who has uncanny knack of picking wickets at crucial times and what I feel is that he is someone who can bowl more than a couple of overs unlike part-timers," he added.

Bangladesh will be heading for Zimbabwe for a two-match Test series along with three ODI's and three Twenty20's in June after the home series against Sri Lanka.

With the two-match Test series loss against Sri Lanka once again Mahmudullah's name will be put up on the selection table for the longer-formats and knowing that too well, Mahmudullah is keeping no stone unturned, starting with his bowling.