June 2, 2002

The return of Mushfiqur Rahman

Mushfiqur Rahman, the right arm medium pacer from Rajshahi district, hit the eyes in 1998 for the first time. He gained more attention when he got the precious wicket of Sachin Tendulkar twice. Mushfiqur can operate the new ball too, as we saw him bowling with Hasibul Hussain in a couple of limited over international matches and he carried on well at those moments.

As a handy batsman Mushfiqur first showed his batting capabilities in January 2000 against the touring Australian Common Wealth Bank Academy, notched up a brilliant century at Rajshahi in a three-day match. These were enough to get the call for the Test team that were heading off for Zimbabwe in April 2000.

That was Bangladesh's first away tour and Mushfiqur became a flop show in the two Tests Bangladesh played. He was horrible with the bat and didn't bowl well all throughout. As he is branded as a batting all rounder, his failure with the willow disappointed everyone. He carried away with his silly shots in the four innings he batted - none of them offered him even a double figure.

In the ODI series he wasn't that bad if we take notice of the first one-day when he made a mark with his bat (31 runs in an excruciating situation), but with his gentle medium pace he remained ineffective. As a result he was ruled out for the next 8 Tests Bangladesh played and was almost forgotten for more than twelve months.

By this time national squad included some new faces; they found some talented batsman and some young energetic bowlers too, but hardly found any all rounder. Actually Bangladesh can name three players as genuine all rounders and Mushfiqur is one of them. The other two are Khaled Mahmud Sujon, who is a veteran fighter; Neeyamur Rashid had real potentials to be a first-rate all rounder (Somehow he squandered this).

Neeyamur Rashid is currently out of the race, therefore, the contest is limited between the other two - Mushfiqur and Khaled Mahmud. Mahmud's plus point is his experience and Mushfiqur played too well this year in premier league, scored a lot of runs and pulled of with bags of wickets.

The tour to Sri Lanka is just around the corner and both would be called in for the campaign in BKSP starting from the first week of June. This is the second good chance Mushfiqur is getting to prove his worth - no doubt!