Karachi:When Alok Kapali scored his maiden One-day hundred for Bangladesh against India, his first action was to look up to the sky and say "This is for you father."
Kapali would have given anything for his hundred to have come two months earlier when his father, one of his biggest supporters, passed away in his hometown of Sylhet.
"He was my biggest supporter and always wanted me to do well for Bangladesh. Even when I was not in the team he kept on encouraging me and telling me to work harder to win back my place in the team," Kapali recalled.
An introvert by nature, Kapali said he was sad that his father, who worked at a Hindu temple in his hometown, was not around to savour the moment.
Kapali, just 24, comes from humble beginnings and his father never let him forget that.
"When I was first selected for Bangladesh and when I played consistently, he was there to remind me that there is no substitute for hard work and commitment. I miss him a lot," Kapali said.
The youngest of six brothers and four sisters, Kapali was fortunate to be playing against India as the selectors had not considered him for the Kitply tri-series and Asia Cup and he only came in due to a freak finger injury to Aftab Ahmed at the last moment.
"Even before coming here, I had a feeling this could be a good tour for me because Pakistan has been a good hunting ground for me," the all-rounder said.
On the 2003 tour, when Bangladesh nearly toppled Pakistan in the Multan Test and only a magnificent century from Inzamam-ul-Haq saved the day for his team, Kapali was one of the standout performers. His best moment coming in the second Test in Peshawar when he took a hat-trick with his leg spinners and also kept on making useful scores.
Even his induction into the Bangladesh side in the first instance was by luck when he was picked by the Pakistani coaches of the team in 2002 as a replacement for an injured player.
Kapali says his hundred would have been more valuable if he his team had beaten India.
"But it is my personal tribute to my father."
But for him his greatest cricketing moments have come from other greats.
In 2003 he was acknowledged by West Indian great Vivian Richards after an innings of 80-odd against the West Indies.
"The best moment for me was when I shared the same dressing with Sachin Tendulkar while playing for the Asian XI in the Tsunami relief match," he recalled.