Mushfiqur Rahim has said that his role as Bangladesh’s Test captain is open for “analysis” by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) but he is happy to continue in the triple role of wicketkeeper, batsman and captain.
While there was always the odd question about his captaincy since he abruptly quit the ODI post in 2013, the criticism has increased since 2015 and it flowed into the Hyderabad Test, where his wicketkeeping also came under the scanner.
After his proficient 127 in the first innings that kept Bangladesh in the game, it has become evident that his role as a dependable middle-order batsman is gaining importance.
Mushfiqur, however, has said that since the BCB has entrusted him with the three roles since 2011, he will happily oblige as long as they decide otherwise.
“My average is not more than 33 or 34, so how can I be the No. 1 batsman of Bangladesh? If you are entrusted with two or three roles, that means the management has shown faith in you,” he said. “So I need to deliver in all three departments. If I am not doing well, it’s up to the board to take a call on my future.
“At the moment, I am enjoying what I am doing – I love to spend time in the middle and the way you can do your job is to spend time in the middle rather than in the dressing room. There are people who are sitting outside [BCB officials] who can take a decision but as far as I am concerned, I am happy to do all three. Captaincy is not in my hands. The board can analyse and take a call.”
During India’s first innings, Mushfiqur made some errors as a wicketkeeper and captain, chiefly the missed stumping of Wriddhiman Saha when he was on 4. He also used Shakib Al Hasan for only 24 of the 166 overs. Although Shakib was expensive, he was used at times when Bangladesh were looking for wickets, so his high economy rate was justifiable at the time. According to Mushfiqur, they wanted Shakib to bowl high-impact spells rather than the long ones, which became the job of the two young spinners.
“Our spinners led the bowling attack. The team management and I felt that Taijul Islam and Mehedi [Hasan] Miraz did their job properly, so we kept faith in them. It depends on who is bowling well on the particular day. I thought Taijul and Miraz were bowling well in partnership.
“We want Shakib to bowl as much as it is useful to the team. He is not in a position to bowl a long spell. We want him to provide us a breakthrough. The rest of the work is for the other bowlers. We are happy with Shakib’s bowling. I thought he bowled well in the second innings.”
It was surprising to hear of this new role for Shakib, who is the most experienced bowler in the line-up and someone with a proven capability of stemming the run-flow. Taijul and Mehedi ended up bowling 89 overs in which they took five wickets at an economy of 3.6 per over.
Mushfiqur said that India should have been restricted to 550 in the first innings to give Bangladesh less batting time against their spinners in the second innings, pointing out that the bowling unit and top order in particular had to quickly make amends.
“If we could have restricted them to 550 at least, they would have had to bat another session which means we would have batted three sessions instead of four in the second innings,” he said. “In that area, we gave 170 runs more. Also while batting, if someone from the top four could have gone big, we could have got closer. That first innings was crucial.
“We need to execute our plans as a bowling unit. I hope the bowlers learn quickly. In the end, you need to take wickets to put pressure on other teams.”