Bangladesh's left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman is eager to represent the Tigers in all three formats of international cricket. The pacer is now busy training ahead of the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka, which is scheduled to start from October 24.
In the last five years since Mustafiz made his international debut, Bangladesh played 29 Tests. Of them, Mustafizur was a part of the Bangladesh team on 13 occasions - less than half. The team's think-tank has always viewed him as a weapon in limited-over cricket, where his appearances have been far more frequent.
Earlier this year, Bangladesh’s head coach Russell Domingo also said that he has no plans to play Mustafiz in the longer format of the game regularly, even as he rather insisted that Mustafiz will be his number one option in the pace-bowling department for the limited-over games.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) selection committee, however, opted to include Mustafizur in the squad for the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka, which may manifest a changed mindset about the left-arm pacer.
“I want to represent Bangladesh in every format of cricket. Currently, I have been working on the things that will help me become a bowler who can perform well in every format,” Mustafizur told the media on Monday after the second day of national team skill training camp.
“I am trying to absorb the art of swinging the ball. Our pace-bowling coach (Ottis Gibson) taught me how I can swing the ball better. He showed me some grips which are very helpful. I have been trying to learn it. I know it will take time. I believe I can do it if I work hard consistently,” Mustafizur added.
Mustafizur grabbed the limelight in his debut series against India in 2015 when he scalped two five-fors in his first two games for the Tigers. He played the pivotal role to win the maiden ODI series over India. Since then, Mustafizur has established himself as an integral part of Bangladesh limited-over team. But he failed to replicate the same performance in the longer format of the game despite taking four wickets in his debut against South Africa in 2015.
The long hiatus forced by the Covid-19 has interrupted Mustafizur’s work towards becoming an all-format bowler. However, he said the Covid-19 hiatus is on the past now and he is working hard to become a better bowler.
“There is a big difference between training at home and training outdoor with the team. All of us have worked more or less during the Covid-19 lockdown. But now, we are more focused as a team, and it always helps to train better when we are a team,” Mustafizur further told the media.
“It was tough to start the practice with the team. At first, I bowled with a shorter run-up. But now I have increased my run-up, and I’m doing well. Everything is going well,” Mustafizur also said to the media.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s Sri Lanka tour is still under a cloud as the health department of Sri Lanka is yet to accept BCB’s proposal of a seven-day quarantine period instead of 14 days, which is mandatory for all who enter the island nation during the pandemic. During the last media interaction about the matter, BCB said they are still hopeful of a positive response from Sri Lanka.