India team director Ravi Shastri has forgotten all about the Mustafizur-mauling his side received on their way to a maiden series loss to Bangladesh only eight months ago in 2015.
"That was eight months ago, I've already forgotten about it," he said. "There's been plenty of cricket since. Ask about what's been going on in the last two months. Anything before that, I don't have in my memory." Ravi Shashtri told ESPNcricinfo ahead of the opening match of the Asia Cup’s main round on February 24 against Bangladesh at Mirpur stadium.
Shastri is more than aware of the hosts' threat though, after a breakout 2015 when they reached their first World Cup quarter-final and secured maiden series wins over Pakistan, India and South Africa.
"I've seen cricket in Bangladesh grow, I've come here right through the 90s as a broadcaster. I'm happy to see the way cricket has developed and I'm happy to see the Bangladesh has evolved as a team. No team can take them lightly as they showed last year playing one-day cricket and tribute to them. So they have the respect of every opposition and India will be no different." Indian team director explained.
India’s first challenge to claim the Asia Cup, which will be played in T20 format for the first time, will come from Bangladesh. The last time these teams met in 2015, India were left shell-shocked after Mustafizur ripped through their much-vaunted batting line-up with ruthless efficiency.
The Bangladeshi pacer claimed five wickets on ODI debut and then six more in the next game to spearhead a 2-1 series victory. The cricketing world stood up and took notice, as Mustafizur mesmerized Indian batters with a canny mix of cutters and seam-up deliveries. The awkward bounce Mustafizur extracted from Mirpur’s pitch on top of prodigious seam movement made him too hot to handle for India.
The Indian media praised Mustafizur for his outstanding performance in the second game of the series after he blew away the Men in Blue with six wickets for 43 runs.
''Bangladesh produced a clinical performance with the ball and then backed it up with the bat to claim a remarkable six-wicket victory against India in the second One-Day International (ODI) and thus clinch the three-match series 2-0 here on Sunday,'' reported NDTV. Mustafizur Rahman took 13 wickets in 3 games against India at an average of 11.53. 6/43 was his best bowling performance.
“Bangladesh's left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman (6-43) was the star of the match.” NDTV added. Sunil Gavaskar, in an interview with NDTV, praised the tigers' historical series win, saying, ''The baccha of world cricket have now grown up''.
He said the Bangla tigers played much superior cricket than India, who struggled to put on a show with the bat.
Praising the young tigers, Indian English daily The Times of India reported, ''They [Tigers] dominated India in both the matches of the series… 19-year-old Mustafizur Rahman was the architect of another Bangladesh win …''
Press Trust of India’s website had the lead photo of Bangladesh team’s celebration.
Anandabazar Patrika hinted that Dhoni’s team is now under threat of a “Banglawash” – a clean sweep in the series 3-0.
The Hindu credited 19-year-old left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman for a win over India.
“The cub roared like a full-grown tiger as he had Ashwin at his wit’s end and became only the second bowler after Zimbabwean Brian Vitori to record five-for performances in his first two ODIs,” it said on Mustafizur.
After the extensive coverage by Indian media on their maiden ODI series loss to Tigers, it is rather startling to hear Ravi Shastri say he has completely forgotten about the mauling from Mustafizur Rahman.
India team director appeared quite comfortable a repeat of that will not happen, but Mustafizur knows better…he is waiting to make India remember his deadly cutters once again!