Amid a near perfect performance against West Indies in their tri-nation series opener, the only spot of bother for Bangladesh was the bowling of Mustafizur Rahman.
Adorably dubbed as the ‘Cutter Master’, Mustafizur gave away 84 runs in his 10 overs and picked up two wickets in the later stages of the innings. It particularly looked too weird, especially when no other bowlers went for even over 5 runs per over.
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza had figures of 10-0-49-3, Saifuddin 10-1-47-2 while the spinners duo Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraz conceded just 33 and 38 runs respectively in their 10 overs to manage one wicket apiece.
Therefore it raised a question. A bowler might have a one day off in the ground but this is not for the first time for the Fizz, as he was called. Mustafizur conceded 92 runs – the second most by a Bangladeshi bowler in ODIs after Shafiul Islam (96) – in his previous game against New Zealand at Dunedin earlier this year.
However amid Mustafizur’s wayward bowling, Bangladesh managed to get off to a good start in the tri-series tournament with a crushing eight-wicket victory over West Indies.
Whereas at the beginning of his career, Mustafizur was particularly hard to read, especially with his crafty slower cutters that forced the batsmen around the world spend sleepless night, mulling how to decode Mustafizur cutters.
As he began his career with a bang, claiming 5-50 and 6-43 in consecutive two matches against India in 2015 to help Bangladesh win a bilateral series against the sub-continent giant’s for the first time, Mustafzur formed a solid camaraderie with injury.
But still he had enough fuel to return to the fold with all guns blazing. However the latest shoulder injury seemed to have taken a huge toll on his body.
What is problematic for him is that he is yet to muster any stock delivery after his cutters were decipherable by the batsmen. He was never an express pacer but still the nagging line and length was his weapon with which he was so far surviving at least in the ODI cricket. But of late, the line and length seemed to have messed up.
While Mashrafe and Saifuddin quickly figured out in what length they would have to bowl in this wicket, Mustafizur looked clueless. Even the repeated advice from Mashrafe on the ground couldn’t make him understand in what length he would have to stick with.
From what it was understood, he was not fit enough to maintain the line and length and hit the deck as advised by Mashrafe.
Despite his jaded performance, captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza refused to give up the hopes on Mustafizur, saying that the bowler will comeback with all guns blazing when it matters most.
“He is talented bowler. He got a rare day off. But I hope he will learn from the mistakes and rectified it very quickly,” Mashrafe said.