'Mushfiq was only asked to reconsider his decision'
Wicket-keeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim is not being forced to change his decision and join the last leg of Bangladesh’s tour of Pakistan, Bangladesh men’s national cricket team Chief Selector Minhajul Abedin claimed on Tuesday.
According to media reports, Mushfiq had been threatened with exclusion from the second ODI against Zimbabwe on Tuesday if he did not change his decision to opt out of the Pakistan tour. The order to exclude Mushfiq reportedly came from Bangladesh Cricket Board President Nazmul Hassan.
However, former Bangladesh captain Minhajul brushed off the claims by a section of the media. Mushfiq is yet to change his decision but still played in the ODI, striking 55 runs off 50 deliveries at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.
Minhajul admitted that the selection panel had met with Mushfiq and asked him to reconsider his decision on the Pakistan tour, but also said the player was not pushed once he refused.
In the final phase of the three-part tour of Pakistan in April, Bangladesh will play one ODI and the second Test of the series in Karachi. Mushfiq had opted out of tour due to security concerns in January, before the first phase had begun.
“We held discussions with him [Mushfiq] in Sylhet and asked him if he would tour Pakistan, but he said no to the tour straightway. After this, we didn’t push him on the matter,” Minhajul told the media at Sylhet International Stadium on Tuesday.
“The way the issue came out in the media is absolutely wrong. There was no pressure from anyone to axe him if he refuses to tour Pakistan. Even ahead of the first Test match against Pakistan, some media reports claimed he would be axed if he doesn’t tour Pakistan, but those are also absolutely false,” he added.
The chief selector further said Mushfiq would be left out of the team for the third and final ODI against Zimbabwe, as the selectors wish to field the same team that will play the ODI against Pakistan on April 3.
“The first XI we field against Zimbabwe in the third match will probably play the Pakistan ODI, so Mushfiq won’t play the third match,” he said.
Minhajul added that the selection of right-arm pacer Mashrafe bin Mortaza for the Pakistan ODI is yet to be decided. Prior to the Zimbabwe ODI series, BCB Chief Nazmul had said it would be Mashrafe’s last as captain and his future selection in the squad would be dependent on fitness and performance.