Bangladesh national bowlers Mustafizur Rahman and Mehedi Hasan Miraz will not be featuring for Khulna Division in their National Cricket League (NCL) opening-round fixture against Rangpur Division today, with the official line being that both players were rested, but for different reasons.
Off-spinner Mehedi’s case is a straightforward one as he bowled 120.1 overs in the just-concluded two-match four-day series between Bangladesh A and Sri Lanka A and was therefore given a breather. While Mehedi had bowled a lot in longer-version cricket, Mustafizur, it was learnt from a source close to developments, had wanted to sit out the first round and head into next month’s tour of India after playing the second and third rounds.
The left-arm pacer was left out of Bangladesh’s one-off Test against Afghanistan a month ago because of discomfort in his ankle and some back pain, but did feature in the ensuing T20I tri-series.
It should also be mentioned here that the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) made it compulsory for national players to play the NCL, barring injury.
According to the source, national physio Julian Calefato had told the national selectors that Mustafizur would be fit to play from the first round of NCL. However, on Tuesday, a day after the NCL squads were named, Mustafizur communicated with Calefato and a few hours later the physio sent an email to the selectors advising that the pacer be rested from the first round.
Adding a further layer of confusion, Mustafizur had actually gone to the airport on Tuesday to catch a flight to Jessore, presumably to join the team in Khulna, where the match will take place.
He then turned back because of the latest advice from the physio.
“Mustafizur is not available for the opening game as our physio instructed recently that he is yet to recover sufficiently from the ankle injury to take the load of longer-version cricket. According to the physio, Mustafizur is yet to bowl the number of overs in practice that would have indicated that he is fully fit to take on the load of bowling 25 to 30 overs a day,” national selector Habibul Bashar told reporters yesterday. “We are hoping to have him in the second round as he is expected to complete the required amount of bowling before then.
“As far as Mehedi is concerned, he bowled quite a few overs in Sri Lanka during the two four-day games and certainly deserves some kind of rest,” Bashar added.
Bangladesh’s limited-overs all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin has also been advised not to take part in the first round for Chattogram because of a lingering back injury. Bangladesh Test and T20I skipper Shakib Al Hasan is the other notable national absentee as he is in the West Indies playing the Caribbean Premier League for Barbados Tridents.