Robiul Karim, also known as Sentu, began as a wicket-keeper batsman at the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishthan (BKSP) and, with his talent he was able to make a mark. His prospects looked promising as he then played for the Bangladesh under-17 side but a dramatic downfall saw the promising cricketer lose his way as he had to quit the game to help his struggling family.
Sentu worked as a salesman in a fashion house at the capital after quitting cricket but he was always looking for an opportunity to get involved with the game again.
It was then Khaled Mashud, former Bangladesh skipper, who helped him get a job at the Clemon Cricket Academy. And then Khaled Mahmud, also a former captain of the national team and currently a director of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, came to Sentu's aid -- much like he did with many other cricketers in the country. Mahmud gave Sentu a job as a trainer at the Bangla Trac cricket academy in Rajshahi, with a salary which was beyond his expectations.
Things started to change for Sentu as he gradually made his name as a throw-down specialist to the batters at the nets and his mentor Mahmud then picked him for the Bangladesh Premier League side Dhaka Dynamites.
Sentu also toured with the Bangladesh team as a thrower and his hard work and skills had made him a handy member of the national team's support staff. Mahmud then asked the Bangladesh team's analyst Shrinivas Chandrashekhar, who also works for Sunrisers Hyderabad, if he could create an opportunity for Sentu in the IPL.
Things worked out well and Sentu went from a struggling abandoned cricketer to having a career in the most glamorous cricket league in the world. He is working as the only Bangladeshi in the IPL as a throwdown specialist for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the UAE this season.
"I know Sentu for a long time and he was actually looking for a job at one point. I tried to help him and gave him a job and he was very happy. It's his hard work, though, which paid off and everyone appreciated his throwdown skills.
"I have said many times that we can include Sentu in the national team and give him a decent salary and use his talent. We spent a lot on many others, why not create our own resources?" said Mahmud.
Sentu, on the other hand, gave all the credit to Mahmud and expressed his gratitude towards his mentor.
"Whatever I am today is because of Sujon sir [Khaled Mahmud]. I am learning everyday here and having the time of my life in the IPL," an emotional Sentu said from Dubai yesterday.
Much like Sentu, Mahmud has been a father figure for many cricketers in the country but there was a sense of disappointment in Mahmud's voice when this reporter gave him the credit behind Sentu's rise.
"I always try to help cricketers. At times I had to hear a lot of negative things for this. Whenever I hear Mushfiqur or Shakib praising their mentor Salahuddin for their success, I, too, feel that someone should also mention my name for whatever I did for them. If I talk about Mahmudullah or Mustafizur or even youngsters like Towhid Hridoy, I can proudly say that I have picked these cricketers when no one had the belief in them. But it's okay as I don't want the credit for their success. I will keep helping cricketers silently and enjoy their success," Mahmud added.