'Management gets praise, I get the blame'
Mushfiqur Rahim's face told the story. No one else feels losses more than the skipper, and he seemed to be feeling the pain of the innings and 254-run loss more than the after-effects of the sickening blow he suffered to the left side of his head while batting on the third day of the second Test. He was especially downcast yesterday, perhaps because along with the debilitating loss, there were questions about his captaincy future as well as murmurs about discontent in the dressing room. There was a lot to answer, not least their heaviest loss of an already dismal record against South Africa.
"After I got hit, there was a lot of pain. I took medication and I tried to be there for my team. After I had a chat with our physio in the middle, I told him I will go off if I can't bat after 10-15 minutes," he said about his injury. "I wasn't 100 per cent but I tried my level best to survive till lunch. I got out before lunch, and then I went to hospital. Doctors did few tests. I am okay at the moment. If I feel bad again, I can go back to the hospital."
In his comments, Mushfiqur had the air of a man holding back his emotions and striving to say the right things when asked about his captaincy and the situation in the dressing room.
"It is up to the board, they gave me the honour and opportunity," said Mushfiqur when asked about the future of his captaincy, in light of reports that the board were thinking of the axe. "I tried my level best with honesty. If they are not satisfied they will take their decision."
Mushfiqur caused a minor stir on the first day when he said after play that his decision to spend time in the deep and not guide his bowlers was dictated by the team management and the coaches, who felt that he was not a good fielder. This has reportedly irked some Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) high-ups. "I haven't heard anything from them. I spoke the truth and if it hurt someone, I have to say sorry. I don't want to be the reason for the team's bad result. I always tried to inspire the team, and lead from the front. I am also a human being, and I am bound to make mistakes," he said.
The clearest evidence of his discontent came when asked about the relationship with coach Chandika Hathurusingha. "It is better to ask him because I am always trying my level best. The team management also try to do their best. I think when the team does really well, all the credit goes to the management and when we are not doing really well all the blame comes to the captain.
"The blame is coming at me, because I decided to field first in both Tests. Maybe I haven't been leading properly and that's why the team isn't doing well. This is why I am saying that I should be given the opportunity to correct my mistakes," said Mushfiqur.
A South African journalist asked if he would resign. "Why should I? It is not an individual's game. It is a team game. Obviously all the blame comes to me being the captain. The board will decide about me, since there's a lot of time before the next Test series.
"It is not about what I want. I can't decide to stay as captain, neither can I leave it. The board has to take the decision and I am sure they will take a good one for the team. Country comes first, not the individual."