I had tears in my eyes after the century: Aminul Islam
Now the tournament director of the Asia Cup, soft-spoken Aminul Islam reminisces about his century that stunned India in Bangladesh's maiden Test, the sledging he endured and Sachin Tendulkar's support.
Wearing a black blazer, the soft-spoken Aminul Islam is rushing to different corners of the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali stadium in Fatullah. The former Bangladesh captain is the tournament director of the Asia Cup and has to look into an electricity problem that has cropped up.
The increased haste is because Islam has had a few stop-overs already on the way. "Sunny Gavaskar met me downstairs," he tells HT, after the electricity is back in order. "He just looked at me and shouted 'first century, what a knock'. It is moments like these that make me very emotional."
The century that the Indian batting legend was referring to was Islam's century on debut against India in 2000. That it was Bangladesh's inaugural Test made the innings incredibly special, one that would go down in the country's history books.
"I remember that day as if it was yesterday," reminisces the 49-year-old, who is now in-charge of developing cricket in China as an Asian Cricket Council representative. "I had tears in my eyes after the century. I had never thought I would score a century. For it to be against India and in our first Test was phenomenal."
Islam's 145, for which he spent a commendable eight hours and 55 minutes in the middle, was instrumental in helping Bangladesh surprise India by taking the first innings lead. Not a single minute of his marathon stay was smooth, recalls Islam.
"There was so much sledging on, especially by Javagal Srinath. He would tell me that we do not know how to bat and would get out anytime. When I was on 70 at stumps on Day 1, even Sourav Ganguly told me that we will take the new ball soon, so you better get your runs before that," he says, as Afghanistan appeal for a wicket against Pakistan on Thursday.
But his favourite moment from the knock has a reference to Sachin Tendulkar, like it has been for so many chapters in cricket.
"Both the teams were headed for dinner after the game, so we were in the same bus. Sachin came up to me and after congratulating me, he just discussed my game. He told me where I could improve and how he thought I played. For me, it meant a lot. Even today he is the same humble man."
Islam, now an Australian citizen, has to rush again. He wants to ensure all preparations are watertight, just like his century on debut.