Riyad's Hamilton connection | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 28, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 28, 2019

Riyad's Hamilton connection

Mahmudullah Riyad's connection with Hamilton has been a deep one as the city was the site of major turning points in Bangladesh's current stand-in skipper's career.

It was at Seddon Park in Hamilton in February 2010 when the elegant right-hander discovered himself as the next big thing when Mahmudullah smashed his maiden Test hundred in hostile conditions after coming in to bat at number eight.

The 33-year-old also smashed his second ODI hundred in the same venue against New Zealand, just after striking his maiden century in the previous game against England, during the ICC World Cup in 2015. That was also a new beginning for Mahmudullah in ODIs.

But when it comes to Test cricket, it took another nine years for Mahmudullah to register his second hundred -- against Zimbabwe last year in Dhaka, which was followed by another century against West Indies just a game later.

Mahmudullah is back to the scene of his personal triumphs and this time, in the absence of regular skipper Shakib Al Hasan due to injury, he is also the stand-in captain for the three-match Test series against the hosts starting from today.

But much like he will need to marshal his relatively inexperienced troops, Mahmudullah will also need to lead from the front with the bat in the middle order in the absence of another injured and experienced batsman in Mushfiqur Rahim. Known for his calm and ability to soak up pressure in difficult situations, the first Test against New Zealand in Hamilton will be a great platform for Mahmudullah the batsman to apply himself.

Apart from Tamim Iqbal at the top, the Tigers' batting lineup is missing the much needed experience in and it is Mahmudullah in his favourite city who can compensate in style.

“If I talk about this city, I would probably say Hamilton is one of my favourite cities in the world as I have a few good memories here. Having said that, I think it will be different conditions tomorrow [Thursday]; it will be a new day and I have to think about my game accordingly. Yes, when I am in my hotel room I do remember a few good memories of this city but I would say that past is past. It will be a new day, a different bowling attack, so I need to think what I can do tomorrow and I am positive about my approach,” Mahmudullah told reporters in Hamilton yesterday.

Ever realistic and grounded, Mahmudullah may not want to think of his past deeds at the venue, but Bangladesh fans will hope that that is just his method of writing a new and perhaps most positive chapter to his Hamilton diaries.

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