'It is Tigers' duty to be a cut above'
When Legends of Rupganj signed both Bangladesh's Test and ODI skippers for the Dhaka Premier League, everyone expected the latter to take charge of the team this season.
However, to the surprise of many, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza decided to hand over the captaincy to Mushfiqur Rahim. Mashrafe, who has been going through quite a bit with his T20I retirement and the controversy surrounding that in the last few weeks, wanted to relax a bit and as a result asked Mushfiqur to take charge.
Speaking to reporters in Savar yesterday, Mushfiqur said that Mashrafe's decision to hand him the captaincy made the wicketkeeper-batsman put in double the effort on the field.
“This is the first time that I am playing with him [Mashrafe] in club cricket in my life and this is a big honour for me. He had requested me to captain the team because he wanted to relax a bit.
“When a person of his stature gives you that responsibility you have to be more focused than usual. I gave my 200 per cent on the field in the last two games,” said Mushfiqur who scored match-winning knocks in both of Rupganj's games so far.
It's not just Mushfiqur. Bangladesh's national players have done relatively well in the Dhaka Premier League so far. From the veterans such as Mushfiqur to youngsters Mosaddek Hossain and Nazmul Hossain Shanto, who have just found their feet in the team, everyone is trying to prove a point in the competition.
Mushfiqur reckons that the good performance here will provide the national team with a big boost ahead of Bangladesh's tri-series in Ireland and the Champions Trophy in England.
“This is a big boost because everyone wants national players to do well in this league and this is our duty. If there is no difference between players who play for the national team and the other players, then we shouldn't be getting priority to play in the national team. We need to hold on to that standard,” said Mushfiqur.
The national players will only get to play two more matches before they leave for national duty. Mushfiqur hopes that he can seal Rupganj a place in the Super League before him and Mashrafe leave.
“If you notice every team in the Premier League will be a little weak -- apart from Gazi Group and Prime Bank, they have good back-up. That's when the main game will take place. Hopefully we can give them a good start so that they can qualify to the top six,” said Mushfiqur, who scored 134 yesterday against Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club.