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'We are not playing with a free mind' - Mushfiqur

Mushfiqur Rahim has said Bangladesh's players are playing under the pressure of maintaining their places in the team, and this mindset has made it difficult for the team to compete in T20 matches.

"I think the main problem could be that previously our players could play their natural game freely from their positions," Mushfiqur said, after Bangladesh's 73-run defeat to West Indies. "We didn't get that result in the last three months. The pressure is now about maintaining their place in the team.

"I think that's when you fall into pressure and can't play naturally. In T20 format you have to start scoring quickly, so it becomes difficult for those out of form and with this mentality. We can't think like this, we have to play our natural game as we did in the last two years."

This comes on the back of an admission from within the team management that they are finding it difficult to drop players who are out of form.

Ahead of the Asia Cup, Mushfiqur had slammed chief selector Faruque Ahmed for not consulting him during squad selection and there have been whispers from the Bangladesh dressing-room that players are not feeling too comfortable with the changes Faruque has made.

There are two arguments in this case. One side of the story is that the current crop of Bangladesh players should have a direct superior keeping them in the straight and narrow, but whether the chief selector should be that person is not clear.

Secondly, if Faruque has held the players accountable, there are doubts over whether he should have started it so early in his second stint as selector, in a manner that has apparently shaken the team's morale. There was widespread praise of Faruque's handling of the Bangladesh team during his first stint between 2003 and 2007.

Mushfiqur felt the players were not handling the expectations that have built up over the last two years.

"Most of the players are not in the momentum of performance," he said. "They are not playing with a free mind. We have to overcome this quickly.

"It is quite obvious there will be pressure and criticism. The expectation is big because of how we played in the last two years. Six or seven of us performed, which raised our team's overall performance. But that's not happening now."

Mushfiqur said the team's poor fielding was a result of their mindset. "The confidence is low because of batting and bowling form," he said. "It is reflected in our catching and misfielding, as I feel some are mentally down."