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Old February 9, 2020, 06:54 PM
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Eshen Eshen is offline
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Default ***Official Shoriful Islam Thread***

Shoriful Islam, the Panchagarh pacer who reached for the stars

"A lot of credit goes to Alamgir Kabir (a former national player) sir," Shoriful tells ESPNcricinfo. "He brought me from Dinajpur to his cricket academy in Rajshahi.

"But I didn't have any equipment. So he brought me a pair of new Nike spikes from India. He would take one-on-one practice sessions with me on the mornings. And in the evenings, he would take care of me like his kid.

"My skills got developed in his academy, and soon I was playing in the Rajshahi junior team. A spot in the Dhaka third division then came, and by 2017, I was in the Dhaka Premier League."

Shoriful first gained national attention at that 2017 DPL season, where he took 17 wickets in eight matches to finish as the highest wicket-taker of the tournament. Since then, he has been part of the Khulna Titans in the Bangladesh Premier League while also representing Bangladesh A on numerous occasions. In the BPL and with the 'A' side, he has rubbed shoulders with international stars, some of whom have even given him valuable life advice.

"My favourite wicket ever came while playing for Bangladesh A," Shoriful says. "We were playing against Sri Lanka A, and Thisara Perera was smashing it to all parts. Then I delivered a cutter, and got him bowled. We ended up winning that match.

"I've spent a lot of time with Carlos Brathwaite and Dawid Malan at Khulna Titans. I try to talk to them as much as possible. I asked Brathwaite how to maximise my potential. He said something I'll never forget: 'self-confidence' is the key.

"He said, 'you will be able to read the solidest of batsmen if you are self-confident. If you have any fear, however good you are, you won't succeed.'"

Whatever little money came to the household was from his father's farming. In the summers, they grew rice. In the winters, they cultivated peanuts. In the early days, when Shoriful was still finding his feet in the world of cricket, he would spend the whole day on one meal of panta-bhaat, a crude dish of soaked rice with some onion and chilli on the side, during training days.

"At first, my parents said you won't make it - it's not easy," Shoriful says. "They didn't support me for 2-3 months but my brother intervened.

"He told me, 'I will sell all the blood in my body to make you play. Don't you worry.' After that, when I took a four-wicket haul against Abahani, my parents first saw me on a TV interview. That's when they realised I can go big.

"Now, however, life has changed. I have bought my father a cow farm, which he now oversees. I have also prepared a new home for us in Panchagarh. They are proud of me."

Shoriful developed his slingy left-arm bowling action thanks to the time he spent playing district-level volleyball.

"Because of my volleyball experience, my jump and delivery stride has more zip," Shoriful says. "The power generated from my shoulder, that's all volleyball.

"After seeing Mustafizur bhai at first, I thought 'if a lanky fellow like him can do it, then why can't I?' When I finally met him, I asked him about how to deal with tough times. His advice was 'people will say many things when the going gets tough, but what will pull you through are the conversations you have with the man you see in the mirror.'"
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