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Reticent Mustafiz conquers all odds

  • Published at 10:02 pm September 24th, 2018
Mustafizur Rahman

Mustafiz was struggling with cramp in the harsh conditions but that could not hinder him from doing his job in the field by flummoxing opponents

Left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman may be the most lethal bowler in Bangladesh outfit but the taciturn young man hardly utters a word in a press conference. Journalists, who seek to find the inner feelings of a player, find it extremely difficult to uncover those of the 23-year-old Satkhira boy, regardless of the situation.

Mustafiz arrived in the international arena back in 2015 like a comet and his talent was instantly recognised throughout the cricketing globe.  No wonder, within a short time he has become one of the cornerstones of the Bangladesh attack.  

On Sunday night at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Mustafizur was once again the centre of attraction after helping his side clinch a victory from the jaws of defeat. The left-arm pacer defended eight runs in the final over of the game to secure a three-run victory over Afghanistan and keep Bangladesh alive in the Asia Cup.

Mustafiz was struggling with cramp in the harsh conditions but that could not hinder him from doing his job in the field by flummoxing opponents.

“There is no guarantee of victory in such situations; all you need is blessings from Allah. Defending more than 20 runs in the last over is fine but there is no guarantee below that. The opposition batsmen can chase it, reach it anytime. I tried and had confidence in myself. Thankfully, we had a good time, that is it,” said Mustafiz to the media at the team hotel in Dubai on Monday.

Almost all heroic tales have a story of conquering the odds and for Mustafizur it was overcoming his physical condition. The harsh middle-eastern conditions have been getting the better of the cricketers in the tournament and having played three 50-over matches in four days, the players including Mustafiz are burned-out. As the Afghanistan chase neared the death overs Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza planned to bring Mustafiz back in to the attack as he still had five overs remaining in his quota.

Although the left-arm pacer complained of cramps and dehydration his skipper did not give up on him and rather pushed him to the limit. To buy some time Mashrafe brought himself into attack, given the other bowlers were either going for runs or were too inexperienced to deal with the pressure.

Mustafiz was finally got to the attack in the 46th over and was instructed to take a short and slow run-up if needed.

“Mashrafe bhai told me there was no option for me but to bowl. During my second spell (three overs) I had told him my leg was hurting and he took me out of the attack and that I will have to come back in the death overs. I had told him I will do the job despite all troubles,” Mustafizur informed.

“My leg was hurting during run up so I had to shorten and slow down so that I can at least bowl,” he added.

With one win in the Super Four round Bangladesh now have equal number of points with Pakistan. The two sides will take on each other on Wednesday in their last Super Four match and that encounter has become a virtual semi-final.

Mustafiz was aware of the opponents’ strength and unpredictability but he kept high hopes of his side reaching yet another Asia Cup final against India.

 “Pakistan are an unpredictable team, more like Chris Gayle. When Chris Gayle plays, no one can stop him and so is Pakistan. They don’t let the opposition stand on their day. But same goes for us too. Let’s see what happens,” said Mustafiz.