Bangladesh's manager Khaled Mahmud has said that Mushfiqur Rahim has been informed he will play the upcoming Tests against Sri Lanka as a specialist batsman, and has to give up his position as the designated wicketkeeper. This means Liton Das, the other specialist wicketkeeper in the Test squad, will take over the role.
Mushfiqur's wicketkeeping came under focus after he missed plenty of chances during the Afghanistan series last year. In Bangladesh's last Test, against India in Hyderabad last month, his missed stumping of Wriddhiman Saha cost the team and highlighted his frailties behind the stumps. During the interim, the BCB had said that the matter will be discussed with Mushfiqur, which is what the team management has done ahead of the Test series in Sri Lanka.
"The coach [Chandika Hathurusingha] and I have informed Mushfiqur officially [that he will play only as a batsman]," Mahmud told the Bengali daily Prothom Alo. "He is the best batsman in the team. He is in such form that we believe he will be able to give more to the team, which is why he will bat at No. 4 and will not be keeping wickets. Mushfiqur has taken the decision positively, which is the best part.
"We gave him examples of Kumar Sangakkara and Brendan Taylor whose batting improved as soon as they gave up wicketkeeping in Tests. It is hard to play as wicketkeeper, captain and batsman."
Liton kept wickets in the three Tests he played in 2015, against India and South Africa. The last time Mushfiqur was told to play as a batsman was during the 2016 Asia Cup T20s when he shared the duty with Nurul Hasan during the tournament at home.
With Mushfiqur now slated to bat at No. 4 and Liton being confirmed a place in the XI, the team management will now have to decide between Mahmudullah and Sabbir Rahman in the middle order. While Mahmudullah has just struck his first Test fifty after a long gap, Sabbir hasn't got a big Test score despite a promising start to his career.