Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza gave full backing to the struggling Mustafizur Rahman ahead of their tri-nation series against host Ireland and New Zealand and the 2017 Champions Trophy.
Mustafizur arrived to the international arena with a bang in 2015 before being elected ICC's Emerging Player of the Year last year. The 21-year old's brilliant bowling also ensured IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad their maiden title in 2016.
However, since the paceman underwent surgery in August last year, the Satkhira lad has faced tough times in the international circuit. The recent tour of Sri Lanka was a case in point as “Fizz” seemed to struggle finding back his rhythm following the injury layoff.
Mashrafe though is backing the young spearhead and said people have to understand the reality, rather than expecting exceptional performances every time the southpaw bowls in the international arena.
“I think what is happening with Mustafizur at the moment is quite normal. The first few matches in his career were a bit abnormal. Because after coming to international cricket, if you take 30-odd wickets in just four-five matches, that is abnormal. Now he has to work hard for every wicket,” Mashrafe told the media in Mirpur's Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Tuesday.
“This is the natural process. Because batsmen are reading his bowling quite easily at the moment. Every team have a good computer analyst. They are analysing Mutafizur’s strength in bowling.
“But the main problem is the injury he is dealing with. He is recovering from a major injury in the last three-four months. We have to consider that his age is only 19-20 (21). So if we heap more expectation on him every time he plays, then it will be a huge burden. If we let him relax and consider the reality then it will be helpful for him. He can become a great asset for Bangladesh in the coming 10 years,” he added.
Bangladesh have five pacers in their squad for the tri-series and the Champions Trophy. Besides Mashrafe and Mustafizur, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain and Shafiul Islam will also accompany the squad. Mashrafe informed that the pace bowling combination will only be decided after assessing the conditions.
“We can decide the bowling combination once we assess the pitches in Ireland. We have five pacers in the squad. We also have Shakib [al Hasan] and [Mehedi Hasan] Miraz. Every main bowler is bowling well at the moment, which is a good sign for us. We will decide according to the conditions and pitches,” he concluded.