Five years ago, on this very day Mustafizur Rahman stormed into the one-day international scene with a five-wicket haul which handed Bangladesh an overwhelming victory against a strong Indian side in Dhaka.
Since then, Mustafiz has been an integral part of the national side and has also grabbed contracts in cash-rich Indian Premier League which earned him global fame.
On the eve of the five-year anniversary of his ODI debut, Mustafiz told New Age that the time went by in a flash.
‘The years flowed like water, never really thought about so many things when I started. The days gone were good, may be the upcoming days will be better,’ said Mustafiz.
Mustafiz played in the 2014 Under-19 World Cup and later in the Bangladesh ‘A’ team but he was first spotted by the national management in a random net session ahead of a home series against Pakistan in 2015.
In the one-off T20I against Pakistan, Mustafiz made an impressive international debut but became an overnight sensation after his back-to-back five-wicket hauls against India in his first two ODI matches.
The shy boy from Satkhira still placed his performances against India as his most memorable spells.
‘If I have to pick best memory I will choose the two matches against India in my first series. After that, the two five-wicket hauls in 2019 World Cup against India and Pakistan. In Twenty20 World Cup, five wickets against New Zealand is also a fond memory,’ he said.
Mustafiz’s five-year journey hasn’t been without hiccups as the left-arm pacer has gone through multiple injuries, which has negatively impacted his performance.
His economy rate has been on the rise for the last two years and many have criticized him for not holding on to his initial promise.
But national selector Habibul Bashar labeled such criticism unfair.
‘Mustafiz is coming back. He was the highest wicket taker in the last BPL; he took 20 wickets in the World Cup. His pace has improved,’ Bashar said.
‘The thing with Mustafiz is he had bowled tremendously well in his first two-three years. But the reality is at some point the performance graph will lower and that’s what’s happening. Now too much talk is going around about his poor show but no one is talking about his glory days.’
The former Bangladesh skipper also believed that Mustafiz was a special talent and the best of Mustafiz was still to come.
‘He is a bit shy and in conversation you won’t find him very smart but his cricketing brain is very sharp. He can pick up new things quickly. He is a special cricketer and I strongly believe he will do very well in future.’
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