How often is it that people shy away from doing something just because they think they are too old to do that? Bangladesh wicketkeeper batter Shamima Sultana is different from everyone in that regard. And hence, her story of emergence is also unique and different from most of her teammates.
Shamima never thought of age as a barrier. The now 32-year-old made her debut for the national side back in 2014 at the age of 26 -- an age by which most cricketers already make a name for themselves. Shamima's late entry to the international stage was owing to the fact that she had not even started playing professional cricket before she was 22.
"If you are persistent and have immense love for what you do then you can succeed in that at any age -- be it sport or any other work," Shamima said during an interview with this reporter.
Even after starting later than usual, Shamima's persistence and love for the sport did bear fruit. The girl from a small village named Kamlapur in the Sreepur upazila was the highest run scorer for Bangladesh -- fifth highest overall -- when they etched their names in the history book by winning the Asia Cup in 2018 -- first major international trophy won by a Bangladeshi side. Before that, Shamima also became the first Bangladeshi player to have scored a half-century in their South Africa tour in 2017.
Shamima's love for the sport has however remained since her childhood. But her path that led to the international stage had been a bumpy one due to injuries.
"I used to play different kinds of sports since I was four or five. I remember playing with bats made from tree branches with the local boys in my village. Although my father was a farmer, he or any of my family members never stopped me from playing with boys.
"In 2008, I went to Dhaka to play in the national league. I was then asked to play as a wicketkeeper but I had never even touched gloves prior to that. In 2011, I was a stand-by as a wicketkeeper-batter for the national side. I got called in the national side the following year. Since 2013, I had been called and dropped from the national side a number of times, mostly due to injuries. I suffered from a torn ligament in 2014 and I was not directly called back in the side after recovering. I was only called after I played well in the Premier League in 2015. But again I was dropped before the 2016 World Cup," Shamima told about her struggles.
There were a lot of ups and downs in Shamima's career. But one thing that the 32-year-old never did was giving up. And as she opined, age could never be a barrier for her as she was persistent about pursuing her dream.