Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman’s appearance in the first one-day international against hosts New Zealand is yet to be decided till the filing of this report. The visiting Bangladesh side are set to lock horns with the Kiwis in the Boxing Day ODI at Hagley Oval and the match begins at 4am on Monday.
And it is no surprise that left-arm paceman Mustafizur is attracting all the attention ahead of his return to competitive action following a five-month lay-off. Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, in the pre-match press conference in Christchurch on Sunday informed that the team physio has given the clearance for Mustafizur to play.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh limited-over captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza said a final decision regarding Mustafizur is yet to be made and that much of it will depend on the cricketer himself. According to the Bangladesh captain, the team will wait till the last minute before including the pace bowler in the playing XI in the first of three ODIs. Bangladesh lost the lone one-day practice game to New Zealand XI by three wickets but the Tigers had left the field in Whangarei with a lot of confidence as Mustafizur took two wickets in his first competitive match in five months.
Mashrafe had hinted of using four pacemen in the game, given the conditions and the pitch, and in that case, the Narail Express is likely to have Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed and occasional seamer Soumya Sarkar in the attack.
Rubel, who was lethal for Rangpur Riders in the recently concluded Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 2016-17 season, had put up a brilliant show for the Tigers in Australia-New Zealand during the 2015 50-over World Cup.