Bangladesh Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim has been announced as the Icon cricketer of Rajshahi Kings for the fifth edition of the BPL T20.
Sabbir Rahman was the Icon player of Rajshahi last year.
Mushfiq, who also hails from Rajshahi, is the highest run-scorer in the BPL with 1172 runs in 42 matches.
“Everyone wants to play for his local team. It’s a great honour and pride for me to join RK. It’s a big responsibility as well. I hope I will play according to plan and bring success for the team,” Mushfiq told the media during his unveiling programme as the Icon cricketer.
“Personally I believe competition wise, BPL comes just after IPL. Many people wait for the start of the BPL. I think young players are being benefited so much from the BPL,” he said.
Bangladesh are currently practising for the Australia Test matches.
Following the Australia Tests, the Tigers will tour South Africa.
Mushfiq believes the BPL will not distract the players at all when questioned if they would find it tough to switch from T20 to Test mode.
“I think the way world cricket is moving at the moment, there is no chance of an impact. As a professional player you have to adapt with every format. The way Bangladesh are playing in the last few years, I don’t think it will have a big impact,” he said.
Mushfiq had some issues with the previous franchise owner at Barisal Bulls.
Later, the matter was resolved after the Barisal owner apologised to the wicketkeeper-batsman.
Mushfiq believes the issue is very much in the past now and that he is looking forward to perform for Rajshahi.
“The person responsible for that did apologise later. So that thing is over for me. I don’t play cricket to prove something to anyone. I play for me and constantly challenge myself,” he said.
Rajshahi have an ambition and target regarding me. I will try to achieve that. I will try to help RK to become champion. Individual player can't win tournament by himself. We have to play as a team. If I get captaincy then I will try to win the tournament with the help of players, management and everybody,” he added.
The BPL governing council has opted to go for five foreign players in the starting XI
Much has been said regarding the decision but Mushfiq believes it can help the local players.
“It can be both positive and negative. If five players play then one spot for local cricketer will be reduced. But on the other hand, the competition among local players will increase. I think this kind of competition will help the local players in international level as well. And high quality players will participate in the BPL. It will help local players regarding sharing the dressing room with such quality players,” he said.
Rajshahi chairman Hafizur Rahman Khan however, informed that they have voted for four overseas players in the starting XI.
“We voted for four players. Three franchises voted for four players while five franchises voted for five players. So majority decision stays. And we took it sportingly,” Hafizur said.
When queried whether Mushfiq will be the captain, Hafizur said, “It will be decided by the team management. It will be decided after consultation with senior players and made according to team combination. Coach will decide that. It is not the decision of RK chairman.”
Rajshahi have retained three local players in this year’s BPL.
They are – top-order batsman Mominul Haque and all-rounders Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Farhad Reza.
From last year’s overseas players' list, England's Samit Patel, New Zealand's James Franklin, West Indies' Kesrick Williams and Pakistan's Mohammad Sami will play for Rajshahi this year as well.
Zimbabwe's Malcom Waller, England's Luke Wright and West Indies’ Lendl Simmons have been confirmed as the new foreign players.
And Rajshahi are also negotiating with West Indies' Darren Sammy, who might be busy with the global franchise league of South Africa.