DateLine: 20th February 2007
As Bangladeshs leading spin bowler Rafique has carried the onerous responsibilities right from the inaugural Test against India at Dhaka in November 2000. Thriving on this he has improved by leaps and bounds and his accurate and incisive left arm bowling has frequently led to Bangladesh enjoying their few moments of success on the field. He has also had to overcome charges of a suspect action but a never say die spirit is part and parcel of Rafiques game and he proved this by bagging six for 77 against South Africa at Dhaka in May 2003 the best Test figures by a Bangladesh bowler. With better support Rafique might have caused South Africa deeper embarrassment for on the morning of the first day the visitors were 63 for four with the spin bowler having taken three of the wickets. Against England in 2003-2004 he was with ten wickets the leading bowler in the two match series. In January 2005 his first innings figures of five for 65 paved the way for Bangladeshs first ever Test win over Zimbabwe at Chittagong and also played a crucial role in the triumph in the one day series that followed when Bangladesh converted a 0-2 deficit into a 3-2 win. As a batsman he loves using the long handle to devastating effect most notably against the West Indies at St Lucia in May 2004. Coming in at No 9 he raced to a maiden first class century before he was last out for 111 inclusive of 11 fours and three sixes and taking the score from 250 for seven to 416 all out. Rafique was named Bangladesh Cricketer of the year for 2004-2005. When Bangladesh caused Australia much embarrassment before going down at Fatullah in April 2006 Rafique had a match haul of nine wickets and even at 36 has lost none of his boyish enthusiasm for the game.
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