POST TIME: 26 February, 2020 08:18:19 AM
Mushfiq’s U-turn over tour to Pakistan
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Mushfiq’s U-turn over tour to Pakistan

Bangladesh hero Mushfiqur Rahim poses for a photograph with man of the match trophy. BCB Photo

In a shift from his earlier stand, wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim has decided to travel to Karachi with the team for the third phase of the tour to Pakistan in April.

It is understood that the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) selection panel has played a pivotal role in persuading Mushfiq to change his mind. A day before the announcement of the Bangladesh squad for the home Test against Zimbabwe, BCB chief selector Minhajul Abedin Nannu and selector Habibul Bashar Sumon went to Cox’s Bazar to convince Mushfiq to travel to Pakistan with the team. However, Nannu did not admit to such coaxing while speaking to the media.

At the time, Mushfiq was busy playing in the Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL) for BCB North Zone. He did not disregard the request of the country’s two senior-most players.

Bangladesh could now be playing their next games in Karachi (ODI and Test) with a full-strength team against Pakistan, who are ahead 1–0 in the two-match Test series, which is a part of the ICC World Test Championship.

Citing security concerns in Pakistan as well as family reasons, Mushfiq did not travel to Pakistan with the national team in the first two phases of the Tigers' tour to Pakistan for the T20I series and a Test. Pakistan defeated the visitors by an innings margin in the opening Test held at Rawalpindi. The Tigers were also whitewashed in the three-match T20I series.

Bangladesh are scheduled to tour Pakistan again in April to play a one-off ODI and the second Test against the hosts. The one-day match will be played on April 3 and the Test will kick off on April 5.

Mushfiq likes to stay away from the media, but he came out of his shell after slamming his third double century against Zimbabwe. He faced the media with a big grin on his face and interacted with reporters with ease.

Mushfiq was asked if he wanted to take his splendid form to Pakistan. On the way back to the dressing room, the wicketkeeper-batsman confirmed that he would travel to Pakistan for the third phase of the tour.

It is learnt from BCB insiders that the BCB told Mushfiq that he would be picked for the Zimbabwe series only if he travelled with the team to Pakistan for the third-phase tour.

Prior to the second-phase tour to Pakistan for the Test in Rawalpindi, national team head coach Russell Domingo said he was in favour of resting Mushfiq, citing the importance of not making changes in the playing XI to accommodate the wicketkeeper-batsman. The chief selector was also in favour of this process. This hard-handed approach taken by the board and the head coach led Mushfiq to sulk for a while. Later, the matter was resolved in an amicable way.