`Best batsman’ Mushfiq in new height

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Feb 16,2019 | Updated: 23:43, Feb 15,2019

 
 

Bangladesh batsman Mushfiqur Rahim (R) checks his helmet after being hit by the ball while team-mate Soumya Sarkar looks on during their first ODI match against New Zealand in Napier on Wednesday. — AFP photo

One of the mainstays of Bangladesh cricket team, Mushfiqur Rahim is set to play his 200th one-day international match for Bangladesh when he takes the field today in the 2nd match against New Zealand in Christchurch.
Mushfiq will join his skipper Mashrafee bin Murtaza, who played his 200th ODI in December last year against West Indies at home.
Mushfiq has represented Bangladesh for 342 times across all three formats, most by any Bangladeshi cricketer, followed by Sakib al Hasan with 322 matches.
Mushfiq’s first captain and current national selector Habibul Bashar had fond memories of a young Mushfiq when he first entered the Bangladesh dressing room.
‘When he made his debut, he was the baby of the team, a little boy. The first impression was like he was technically a very good batsman. His keeping was ordinary, but as a batsman he was rated highly,’ Bashar told New Age on Friday.
‘An introvert boy, he did not mingle with others too much. Initially we used to do a lot of fun with him, especially me and Pilot ( Khaled Mashud),’ he added.
But Bashar claimed to spot Mushfiq’s hunger to perform from the very beginning and felt that with experience he has become the most matured batsman in the Bangladesh team.
‘We always believed he is a performer. You will see some boys who always want to perform. He was like that,’ he said.
‘Now he is more matured, probably technically our best batsman, though we have Tamim [Iqbal] and Sakib [al Hasan]. But he bats matured in all formats. Still he is hungry for performance. But I think now he is more emotional than the past,’ Bashar said.
The 31-year old wicketkeeper batsman started his international career at the age of 18 in a Test match against England at Lords in May 26, 2005 and made his ODI debut a year later in August 6 against Zimbabwe in Harare.
Mushfiq was initially picked in the side as a backup for regular wicketkeeper Khaled, but he ended up replacing Khaled, who is the current manager of Bangladesh cricket team, in the 2007 ICC World Cup squad.
Mushfiq then justified his inclusion with a match-winning unbeaten 56 against India in the tournament opener which helped Bangladesh pull off one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.
But from there Mushfiq’s career saw a dip in form, where he had a string of low scores which even brought his place in the side in question.
In the next two and a half years Mushfiq played 41 ODIs but failed to hit a single fifty-plus innings before finally scoring 98 runs against Zimbabwe in August 18, 2009.
Mushfiq truly found his feat after he replaced Sakib as Bangladesh’s captain in October, 2011 before the home series against West Indies.
Mushfiq, who had three fifties and a solitary hundred in his first 98 ODIs, hit seven fifties and an ODI ton in his 37 matches as captain.
Mushfiq lost his captaincy right before the 2015 ICC World Cup but it didn’t have any adverse effect on his batting as the right-hander grew from strength to strength in every year.
Mushfiq was the second highest run-getter for Bangladesh in the 2015 World Cup with 298 runs, behind Mahmudullah, who had scored 365 runs and became the highest run-getter in that calendar year in ODIs for Bangladesh.
Mushfiq repeated the feat last year too, scoring 770 runs in 19 outings with five fifties and a mammoth 146 against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup, the highest ODI innings in his career.
Mushfiq has scored 2,411 runs from in 64 matches with 16 fifties and four hundreds since losing his captaincy, rescuing Bangladesh from precarious position time and time again.
From a rocky start in international Mushfiq has now established himself as the most consistent batsman for Bangladesh across all formats and still looks hungry for more success.
The batsman has struck 32 fifties and six hundreds in his ODI career and stands third in highest run-scorer list for Bangladesh with 5,351 runs behind Tamim Iqbal and Sakib.

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