Mahmudullah made his debut in international cricket in an ODI against Sri Lanka in July 2007. He made an instant impact picking up 2 wickets and scored 36 runs but the effort went in vain as Bangladesh came up short. The performance was enough to convince the selectors to pick him for the tour to Kenya and the T20 World Cup later that year.
After a superb spell in domestic cricket in 2008/09, Riyadh (as he’s known), was taken into the ODI team for Zimbabwe.
Mahmudullah made his Test debut on 9 July 2009 against the West Indies and made a dream start to his career in whites. He failed with the bat, but produced the best bowling figures for a Bangladeshi on debut. He took 8 wickets in the match, including a 5 wicket haul in the second innings to help Bangladesh seal their first ever win abroad. The match figures remain his best till date.
Mahmudullah moment of glory though remains with the bat when he shared a vital partnership with Shafiul Islam to take Bangladesh to victory against England in the 2011 World Cup.
Although Mahmudullah scored a Test century batting at number 8 against New Zealand, the selection committee preferred not to promote him up the order due to his perceived weakness against fast bowling, despite the number four spot having no permanent occupant. After the World Cup 2011, Mahmudullah was named as Bangladesh’s vice-captain, taking over from Tamim Iqbal. When West Indies toured in October, Mahmudullah missed all the matches with a viral fever. He recovered in time to rejoin the squad to face Pakistan in three ODIs in November, where he scored 56 runs and bowled in just one match, taking three wickets from seven deliveries.
In the Bangladesh Premier League, which was held in February 2012, he was snapped up in the auction by Chittagong Kings for 110,000 USD. Of late there has been a dip in his form and he couldn’t score runs freely in the home series against Sri Lanka in February 2014. In the subsequent Asia Cup 2014, he struggled to take wickets on a regular basis. He continued his poor form in the 2014 World T20 which saw Bangladesh losing all their matches in the Super 10s. Mahmudullah’s form gradually improved over the year and did well on the tour against Zimbabwe in both Tests and one dayers. In the ODI series in Nov-Dec 2014, he was the third highest run-scorer, getting 179 runs in five games, which included two fifties as well. Due to improved fitness and the constant backing of the board and team management, he was included in the 2015 World Cup squad.
With his ability to churn in useful contributions with both bat and ball, Mahmudullah is one of Bangladesh’s key components as they seek to take their cricket to the next level.