Mustafiz is here to stay
The Indian cricket contingent may not have kidnapped Mustafizur Rahman, as per Ravichandran Ashwin's suggestion in the pre-match press conference on Tuesday, but their batsmen did seem to have their 'super cautious' glasses on while facing the left-armer in Mirpur yesterday.
On a track which didn't have a lot in it for the pacers, the 19-year-old bowled 28 dot deliveries. His figures of 2 for 57 could have looked a lot better had an overthrow not gone to the boundary and had Sabbir Rahman judged a mis-hit from Suresh Raina a bit better.
Despite those lapses on the field, Mustafizur recorded much better figures than his senior statesmen, both of whom went for over seven runs an over.
There was a definite plan that the visitors had opted against the youngster. None of the batsmen went after him. For most part of the match, it seemed as though they were busy trying to differentiate between the cutter and the normal delivery. By the time they figured it out, all they could do was nudge around those for singles.
Those who did try to go after Mustafizur eventually got out to the left-arm pacer. After dispatching a short, wide delivery for a boundary in the seventh over, Rohit Sharma attempted to go after him again, two balls later, but only managed to edge one to the keeper.
Towards the end of the innings, Raina had no other option but to target the boundary ropes. After smacking the bowler for two boundaries in the 48th over, Raina lost his stumps to one of Mustafizur's lethal off-cutters.
Raina's wicket took the left-armer's tally to 13 wickets in the series, the highest ever in an ODI series featuring a minimum of three matches. Mustafizur now shares the record with Australia's Ryan Harris, who had taken 13 wickets against Pakistan in 2010. Mustafizur also holds the record of scalping the most number of wickets in a three-match ODI series in Bangladesh, overtaking Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's 12 against Kenya back in 2006.
If being the most threatening of the lot wasn't enough, Mustafizur also showed how fit he is by taking a brilliant catch in the deep to dismiss India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. It was a cutter from Mashrafe that forced a massive edge towards deep midwicket. He ran in to take a good low catch.
The left-armer, who was initially taken in the squad just to surprise the visitors, went on to surpass everyone's expectations and showed that he is in this game for the long haul.
With the South Africa series due in a week-and-half's time, there's no doubt that the left-armer, who has won millions of hearts in the last one week, will be an ever-present fixture with his 'legendary' off-cutters.
For all we know, the likes of AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla have probably already begun looking for the left-armer's video footages.
Amidst all the glory and the records that the left-armer has broken, the one thing that the BCB and the player himself should be wary of is the fact that this is just the start for Mustafizur. Like his counterpart Ravichandran Ashwin had put it: "The challenge starts here for him. Now people are going to watch out for him."