Mustafizur Rahman finished with figures of 18-7-34-1 in the first innings, followed by 13-6-13-1 in the second innings in the just-concluded third-round match of the Bangladesh Cricket League at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium. He did not take many wickets but was economical.
The most encouraging fact however was that 31 overs of bowling gave him enough confidence to say that he will be able to play the full series in the coming tour of Sri Lanka if the selectors and team management keeps faith in him.
“You know, I played the second round of the BCL and I felt a little discomfort on my back. I had a little problem initially in the third round match too, but gradually everything was fine. I bowled 31 overs with ease. Playing two rounds of BCL matches helped me a lot to get back full confidence in my bowling,” Mustafizur told The Daily Star over phone from his home in his beloved Satkhira last night.
“I now have full confidence to play the Sri Lanka series but the selectors and team management will take the decision about what would be best for me. I missed the Test in India, so I am looking forward to Sri Lanka, but again everything will depend on the selectors, physio and other team officials,” he added.
The national selectors had decided to feature him in the four-day BCL so that he can fully recover from his shoulder surgery before the Tigers' next assignment in Sri Lanka, especially as there was a concern about his match fitness even though he was declared medically fit.
“Initially the plan was to play only one round but I had decided to play another round to get back full confidence in my bowling and I got it. Mentally I am also fresh now and I am happy with the way I bowled in the last round of the BCL,” said a confident Mustafizur.
The left-arm pacer will join the national camp on February 24 but was ready to play the fourth round of the BCL if the management advises him to do so.
“I am really impressed with the way he bowled in the second innings. I think he got back his rhythm, so there is no need for him to play the fourth-round match. You can only know whether he will be in the Test team or not when we announce it but I can say that he is ready to play the full series in Sri Lanka,” said chief selector Minhajul Abedin.
The selectors are likely to announce the Test team first on February 22 for the Sri Lanka tour.