What was supposed to be a day of relaxation for the Bangladesh team, following a resounding victory over Sri Lanka, turned out to be a difficult one as the news of Mustafizur Rahman's injury compelled the team management to deviate slightly from their normal routine.
The left-arm pacer had reportedly hurt himself during Bangladesh's crucial clash against Sri Lanka on Sunday. The MRI results, which were revealed yesterday afternoon, confirmed that the bowler had suffered a side-strain.
Considering the gravity of the situation, none of the members of the team management wanted to speak officially on the issue till the afternoon even though several online portals reported the news of Mustafizur's injury quoting unnamed sources.
The fact that Tamim Iqbal, who became a father on Sunday and was on leave, returned to the country by yesterday noon and went to the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur straight away to attend a training session, added further intrigue.
When asked about his sudden return, Tamim said: “When I filled up the application for leave I had informed the board that I would catch the next available flight back after the birth of my child. My son and my wife were under observation for 24 hours and I arrived immediately after that period.”
It was only later in the evening that all the speculations were cleared with the BCB media committee chairman, Jalal Yunus providing an on-record statement.
“Mustafizur did suffer from a side strain and he has been asked to rest for two weeks. The tournament's technical committee has approved the management's request to replace Mustafizur with Tamim. It has been finalised,” Yunus told The Daily Star.
“Mustafizur is definitely a key bowler within Bangladesh ranks. He has been getting plenty of wickets. However, his injury hasn't caused any tension within the management at all. It's part and parcel of the game. The good thing is that we have a good bowling line-up and all of the bowlers are in form,” he added.
With Bangladesh due to play their first World Cup game against the Netherlands on March 9 in Dharamsala, the two-week hiatus could cause some problems with regards to Mustafizur's participation in that game.
When asked about the issue, Yunus said: “I am sure the team management will work with him with an aim of making him recover before the World Cup. That won't be an issue.”
It wasn't possible to reach Mustafizur yesterday due to the hush-hush scenario, however, his family members ascertained that the bowler was not at all tensed and was in a good mood. According to them, the doctor had asked the left-armer to rest for ten days.
Mustafizur's absence will no doubt be a big loss for the hosts as far as the Asia Cup is concerned. With 43 wickets in the three formats since 2015, he has been Bangladesh's leading wicket-taker. He has also been the go-to bowler in the ongoing tournament.
This is Mustafizur's second injury in two months. He was earlier sidelined with a shoulder injury during the Zimbabwe series in January and as a result was not allowed to take part in the Pakistan Super League.