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Mushfiqur Rahim says he was dropped, not rested for Pakistan T20Is

Captain Mahmudullah distances himself from decision, says "best to ask team management"

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
18-Nov-2021
A disappointed Mushfiqur Rahim walks back, Bangladesh vs West Indies, T20 World Cup, Group 1, Sharjah, October 29, 2021

"I was asked if I was available, to which I said of course I am available," Mushfiqur Rahim on his availability for the T20Is against Pakistan  •  Associated Press

Only a day after being left out of the Bangladesh squad for the Pakistan T20Is, Mushfiqur Rahim has disputed the claim that he has been rested.
Mushfiqur said he didn't "need rest" and told the team management he was available, but they took a collective decision to drop him.
"To be honest I haven't reached the stage when I have to tell someone that I need rest," Mushfiqur told Channel 24 on Wednesday. "I am definitely available. Why won't I be? I obviously had a disappointing World Cup. I needed an opportunity to bounce back.
"I was asked if I was available, to which I said of course I am available. But I was told that the selection committee, team management, head coach and team director took a collective decision to drop me."
Two days ago, Minhajul Abedin, the chief selector, had insisted that Mushfiqur was "rested" because they needed him fresh for the two Tests against Pakistan after the three T20Is starting on Friday.
"We have four back-to-back Test matches against Pakistan and New Zealand," Minhajul had said. "He is a key player. He is one of our best players. Tamim Iqbal is already injured. He is in doubt for the Test series. We want our best player to give his best during the Test series, so after consulting extensively with the team management, we have decided to rest him. It is only for the Pakistan series. He will be available later."
The issue took over captain Mahmudullah's pre-match press conference on Thursday in Dhaka. Mahmdullah distanced himself from the decision, and said that the team management (of which he is a part, as captain) should be asked the question.
"I think it's best to ask the team management," he said. "I wasn't part of the decision.
"I don't know what Mushfiq has said. I can only comment after I have seen what he has said.
"It is completely the team management's decision. I don't want to talk about it. All I can say is that we will miss Mushfiq."
Mahmdullah himself has been under the spotlight since the World Cup in the UAE where they lost all their five games in the Super 12s stage and had started their campaign with a six-run loss to Scotland. He was criticised for his captaincy and also for his unbeaten 31 off 24 in the chase against West Indies; Bangladesh needed 53 runs off 39 balls when he came out to bat but fell short by three runs.
Mahmudullah was, however, Bangladesh's second-highest scorer in the tournament with 169 runs in eight matches at 28.16, with a strike rate of 120.71. Mushfiqur managed 144 in the eight games, at 20.57, with a strike rate of 113.38 - including a half-century against Sri Lanka.
Ahead of Friday's match, though, Mahmudullah said he was looking ahead instead of thinking about the World Cup.
"If we keep talking about what has happened, it might create a negative effect," he said. "I am really focused on the T20 match [coming up], how I can contribute as an individual player, and make sure everyone else contributes too.
"We are taking everything positively. Definitely, Pakistan is a major T20 side, which makes it a challenge for us."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84