For them, the one-off Test match, beginning this Thursday at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, is the first international game in four years. In contrast, Bangladesh's visit to India is a bigger occasion for Gymkhana Ground, the venue for the two-day warm-up game between India A and the Tigers. The venue is hosting an international team for the first time in 32 years.
The last time an international team made a visit to this ground was back in 1985 when England played a first-class tour-game against South Zone.
To mark Bangladesh’s visit, the HCA has decided to revive its old tradition, bringing out a souvenir to commemorate the historical Test between the home side and tourists. The practice of publishing a souvenir began in 1964-65 when the first Commonwealth cricket team visited India and HCA had organised a match.
Besides all the excitement of hosting an international team, the cricket enthusiasts in Hyderabad were eager to welcome Bangladesh paceman Mustafizur Rahman, a home boy to the locals, given his impressive appearance for IPL 2016 champion Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Mustafiz was key to Sunrisers' success story last year. So much so that the left-arm pacer was known among the locals as the “Nawab of pace”. The 21-year old, who rose to fame overnight with a spectacular debut in an ODI series against India in Dhaka two years ago, had to miss the India tour due to a lack of “mental fitness”.
[caption id="attachment_44990" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
Mustafiz does throwing practice DHAKA TRIBUNE
Having recovered from a shoulder injury that he picked up during his short tenure with English county side Sussex last year, Mustafiz is yet to make a full return to the international fold. He has appeared for Bangladesh in phases, playing four out of eight international matches, during their tour of New Zealand recently.
According to the team management, there has been a significant fall in his pace.
Before naming the 15-member squad for the India Test, the national selection panel had a brief discussion with the pacer. Then, the Satkhira cricketer informed that he is not mentally fit.
He later joined his team in the ongoing Bangladesh Cricket League. The reaction from the Bangladesh cricket fanatics was not a positive one and the selection panel was criticised heavily for “the decision to hold him back for the Hyderabad five-dayer”.
What's more, it is understood that the series of incidents regarding Mustafiz’s selection were not taken lightly by many in the team and also the BCB.
With that said, it was the cricketer who made the ultimate selection call.
To some extent, Mustafiz’s return to fitness has been a disappointing one. Given his importance to the team, many expected the bowler to come back hard and early, which so far has not happened. And for this reason, fingers are being pointed towards him, which is unfortunate.
The Bangladesh think tank is eyeing full services from Mustafiz when they travel to Sri Lanka for a full bilateral series later this month. But then again, there are speculation doing the rounds over whether Mustafiz will be able to live upto his team’s expectations.
With so much expectations riding on his shoulders, Mustafiz will be severely tested when the time comes for his appearance in the money-spinning IPL 2017, set to be held in April.
The BCB has so far managed Mustafiz's fitness and schedule well. What remains to be seen is whether the board will be able to do the same when he is not serving national interest.