Wednesday, 1 February, 2023

‘Do I have bad times?’

‘Do I have bad times?’
Comilla Victorians pacer Mustafizur Rahman bowls during a practice session at the National Cricket Academy Ground in Mirpur on Tuesday. –BCB PHOTO

Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman is a happy-go-lucky person. He possesses an infectious smile. You would hardly find him in a bad mood when he is around his teammates whether in the national camp or elsewhere.

That trademark smile didn’t vanish despite his missing a simple catch at long-on and not getting a wicket in the practice game between Comilla Victorians and elite students of Masco Shakib Cricket Academy in Rupganj on Tuesday that the current Bangladesh Premier League champions won by 45 runs.

“I am always good. Do I have bad times?” Mustafizur said when his attention was drawn to his current state of affairs.

“I think I’m bowling well and there is no problem,” he added.

Mustafizur is certainly not bowling that badly in recent times considering the fact he is completing a T20 game with good economy rate but somehow the magic is missing as he is unable to put his name regularly among the bowlers changing the fortune of a game by grabbing wickets at regular intervals in the national team dressing room.

Fingers were raised whether the cutter-master is struggling to find his old tricks and became too predictable if not anything else. The new role that is entrusted to Mustafizur in the T20s by the Tigers’ team management has something to do with it.

Mustafizur, in the recent past, has been brought into the attack after the powerplay and he completed his quota by the 16th over and the move clearly suggests that the national team management is keen to complete the middle over on the back of his experience when he will make sure that batsmen don’t free their arms.

It is a different case altogether when he is bowling for Comilla or for other franchises considering they are more inclined to use him more aggressively.

Comilla head coach Mohammad Salahuddin, who was adamant to retain Mustafizur for his team, said that he is confident that the pacer got the experience to get into the skin of a character given to him by the different team management.

“I feel that in the national team, he is playing the role to contain the batsmen because he is used before 16th over of the game after being introduced following the powerplay. You can’t get a wicket in T20s unless batsmen are charging you and that is the case with him in the national team,” said Salahuddin.

“In our team, his role will be certainly different from what he is doing in the national team and we are expecting him to pick wickets for us which isn’t the case for him in the national team.

“Roles vary from team to team and he is matured enough to get into the skin of different roles without much of a problem,” he added.

Mustafizur added that he doesn’t have any problem adjusting to different roles as he is well aware of how to adapt to different situations and roles. 

“Look you have to play in different roles that are given to you by different teams and that is cricket because you don’t have any other options. Look I have adjusted to different roles,” said the left-arm pace bowler.

“Every team has certain roles for me and I have to fulfil that according to their needs whether I am playing IPL, BPL or for the national team. I’m not sure what role I will be playing in Comilla and when they will let me know about my responsibilities. I will try to adjust to it and perform,” he said.

“The same goes with the IPL and the national team. As I said, I had certain roles in the last edition of IPL and I’m not sure what my role will be this time round but one thing is sure I am happy to take any role that is given to me.

“Look earlier it was a different thing (as far as preference is concerned)  but now I enjoy bowling with any ball and at any position,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to adjusting to the new Kookaburra white-ball that has a straighter seam and would likely to help the pacers more than the one that was used earlier.   

“I haven’t seen the new Kookaburra ball that will be used in BPL but will get to know about it soon and will try to adjust to it. I feel it hardly matters with which ball we are playing because it’s all about adjustment and that is the main key,” he said, adding that he is not ready to think too far ahead like preparing for IPL.

“Do you think BPL and IPL are the same? There is the national team and I will have to complete my national commitment. You have to play cricket part by part. I always focus on the present part,” he added.