Raqibul Hasan © Getty Images
Raqibul Hasan © Getty Images

Born October 8, 1987, Raqibul Hasan is a top-order batsman for Bangladesh who became the first from his country to score a triple ton in domestic cricket. Despite making a decent start to his international career, Raqibul soon found himself out of contention for the ODI squad, which led him to take a naive and emotional decision of announcing retirement at the age of 22. Prakash Govindasreenivasan has more.

The protest retirement

Raqibul Hasan was just 22 when he took such a drastic step to show his displeasure towards Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). Having made his international debut across formats in 2008, Raqibul had made a decent start. Yet his omission from the Bangladesh squad for the home series against England in 2009 and the World T20 in 2010 irked him and pushed him to announce a shocking retirement from the game. When Raqibul looks back at it today, he may wish to undo that decision of his career that was taken purely on emotional counts.

He didn’t take too long to realise that his emotional move would only hamper his career as the board will look to move on. Just a week after making the announcement, Raqibul took it back but was left red-faced as the board banned him for three months for his naive behavior.

When not protesting and announcing retirement, Raqibul turned out to be a handy top-order batsman. His ability to play patiently and play the role of an anchor made him a valuable asset.

First-Class feat

After representing Bangladesh Under-19 side in the 2006 World Cup, Raqibul set the records straight with a triple ton for Barisal against Sylhet Division in March 2007, thus becoming the first Bangladesh batsman to do so. This, by no means, was a flash in a pan effort from someone who had scored a century on his First-Class debut in 2005 in a match between Zimbabwe A and Bangladesh A.

ODI career

Raqibul’s triple ton had done enough to put him in contention for the national side in 2008. His first tryst in coloured clothing for Bangladesh came in the first ODI of the three-match series against South Africa in Chittagong. He came in at No. 6 and could only add 15 runs to his name. However, he shrugged off his poor start and scored 63 in the second ODI. Along with Shakib Al Hasan, Raqibul added 119 for the fifth wicket to help his side recover from the early loss of wickets. Although Bangladesh could post only 173, Raqibul was starting to make a case for himself as a solid middle-order batsman.

A couple of months later, Raqibul scored two back-to-back half-centuries — against India at Dhaka and against UAE in Lahore. In the game against India, he was promoted to No. 4 and repaid the faith by being the sheet anchor of the Bangladesh innings. Despite losing two quick wickets, Bangladesh posted 222, largely thanks to Raqibul’s knock of 89 from 117 deliveries. He featured in two important partnerships, first a 76-run stand with Mohammad Ashraful for the third wicket and then a 46-run stand with Alok Kapali for the fifth wicket. His next knock against UAE came in the Asia Cup. Yet again Raqibul (83) was in the midst of a big partnership. He and Ashraful added 141 runs for the third wicket as Bangladesh posted 300 runs on the board and won the game by 96 runs.

Raqibul had made his Test debut in 2008 against South Africa at Centurion but always looked more comfortable in the shorter format of the game, thus, explaining his anger and impulse reaction in 2010 after being ignored.

Return to ODIs

After serving a three-month ban imposed by the board for his decision to retire in protest of non-selection, Raqibul returned to the side for the first of the three-match ODI series in England in July 2010. He made the board realise what they missed in the last three months with a 95-ball knock of 76.

Unfortunately for Raqibul, the return had to come to halt just after one game as a yorker from James Anderson had broken his toe during the course of his innings. Raqibul had to spend a few months on the sidelines due to the injury as the board was starting to look at other options to fill the middle-order. Having regained full fitness, Raqibul continued to fight for his spot and slammed a match-winning knock of 65 against Zimbabwe at Mirpur in December 2010.

Raqibul’s Test exploits

Raqibul could not quite replicate his form in ODIs into the longer format of the game. He scored one half-century against the West Indies in 2009 but that was the best he could offer in white kits. For someone who has hardly turned his arm over in international cricket, Raqibul would cherish the fact that he got the better of Indian skipper MS Dhoni — his only Test wicket — in Bangladesh’s 10-wicket loss against India at Mirpur in 2010.

Raqibul has featured in 55 ODIs so far, scoring 1,308 runs at an average of 27.82. He last played in an ODI in April 2011. In Tests, Raqibul has 336 runs from nine matches at an average of 19.76.

While Raqibul’s return to ODI cricket was promising, it never quite took off the way he would have liked it to. With inconsistency starting to creep into his batting, he began to fall down the pecking order.

(Prakash Govindasreenivasan is a reporter with CricketCountry. His Twitter handle is @PrakashG_89)