Mustafizur Rahman's opinion was taken into consideration while deciding to omit him from the squad for the one-off Test against India, according to Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha. Captain Mushfiqur Rahim also agreed leaving the fast bowler out was a "wise decision" when he not 100% fit to return to five-day cricket.
Mustafizur injured his shoulder while bowling for Sussex in the English T20 tournament last July, and underwent surgery for it in August. He returned against New Zealand in December, in the limited-overs series, taking four wickets in two ODIs and only a single wicket in two T20 matches. He also had hamstring trouble during the tour, and was said to be underprepared to throw from the outfield.
Hathurusingha said his pace dropped dramatically in New Zealand, a sign that he still needed time to recover fully from his surgery. "You can't do anything about it because he has had a major operation," he said. "It will take time for him to come back. He is in the process of coming back. When he bowled in New Zealand, he was 120-128kph but he has usually bowls at 140kph. It will take time for him to get into full fitness. We are planning [to have him ready] for the Sri Lanka tour [that follows the India Test].
"It's a different thing when you are under pressure in the middle to bowl. We have to go by the player and how he feels because medically we can't find anything. We have to go by his word. Most players, when they get injured, are a bit reluctant; even if you break a leg once, you feel it will take time. We have to give him more time."
Mushfiqur said making sure Mustafizur was fit in the long term was more important, and so they did not want to rush him. "We want a fit Mustafiz to play for us for a long time, not as though he will just play one Test and be done with. It's difficult for any player to play a five-day match right after operation. I don't remember when he last bowled 10 to 15 overs in the nets.
"So no matter how good a player is, if he can't bowl in full strength against the No. 1 team, then there is no point. So this is a wise decision. Our target is to get the best possible out of Mustafiz."
Bangladesh has a long season ahead with tours to Sri Lanka (all three formats), Ireland (ODI tri-nation), England (Champions Trophy) and South Africa (all three formats), as well as scheduled visits by Australia and Pakistan in July and August.
Mushfiqur said it was important to let Mustafizur recover to the point where he was comfortable playing Test cricket again. "We all want Mustafizur to play all three formats always but at the same time, he returned from injury and although everyone says he is fit, but only a player can say what his problem is," he said. "I always want him in the Test team, but we have to keep in mind that we have the Sri Lanka series, Champions Trophy and Pakistan series coming up."