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Mushfiqur happy in new role as batsman - and father

With leadership and wicketkeeping duties removed from Mushfiqur Rahim's hands, the former Bangladesh captain said he has begun to enjoy his sole role as a middle-order batsman

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Mushfiqur Rahim hugs Mominul Haque after the latter reached his century, Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Chittagong, 1st day, January 31, 2018

Mushfiqur Rahim hugs Mominul Haque after the latter reached his century  •  Raton Gomes

Mushfiqur Rahim has already made a sound start to his new role in the Bangladesh team: that of just a batsman. Coincidentally, it has come at a time of personal joy. On the day after the Chittagong Test, his wife Jannatul Kifayat gave birth to their first child.
Ahead of their training session at the Shere Bangla National Stadium on Monday, Mushfiqur treated everyone to sweets. The 92 first-innings runs in Chittagong must have added to his joy as it was an important contribution to the team, while also giving him a personal boost.
In December, BCB had ousted Mushfiqur as the Test captain (handing over the job to Shakib Al Hasan) after Bangladesh's diabolical tour of South Africa where he also courted controversy by criticising the fast bowlers and suggesting that the team management gets away with losses while the players don't. With Liton Das also being given a longer rope as the regular wicketkeeper, Mushfiqur's job in the team became more condensed.
Mushfiqur said that now he has to solely think as a batsman, and he is enjoying the new role. "There was always pressure but as a captain, I was an automatic choice," Mushfiqur said. "Now as a top-order batsman, I have to perform. I tried to give my best in the last game. I was unlucky in the second innings, the ball wasn't that great. I will keep trying, and get more runs in the next game.
"I had three jobs and now I have one job. I always try to perform my responsibilities to the best of my ability. I scored while being the captain and wicketkeeper and I even got out for a duck. I have to face whatever comes in front of me, and go forward. I am enjoying it."
Mushfiqur said that he misses at least one side of wicketkeeping, which allowed him to have a closer look at the pitch. But, otherwise, he believes Liton is in it for the long haul. "I always enjoy fielding. Keeping wicket of course gives you a better perspective, especially about the wicket," he said. "But I am happy. Liton is batting and keeping well and I think he can give serve Bangladesh cricket for eight to 10 years."
Although Shakib had inherited his job, Mahmudullah was the captain in the first Test that Mushfiqur has played after losing his captaincy because of Shakib's injury. Mushfiqur said that Mahmudullah is a kind of captain who chooses to lead by example.
"I liked his captaincy," Mushfiqur said. "He has been a good captain at the domestic level including the BPL. He tries to lead by example with his performance. He says what he believes in, which also inspires me. The team is really looking forward to playing under him in Dhaka."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84