There was talk about whether Mushfiqur Rahim would even be considered for the Bangladesh Test squad to maintain team continuity after Mushfiqur had opted out of the Pakistan tour due to security fears. There were also huge concerns over the Tigers' recent performances in the longest format, but Mushfiqur Rahim brushed aside all the negative aspects as the right-hander became the only Bangladesh batsman to score three double-hundreds in Tests and took himself to a new height. His unbeaten 203 helped Bangladesh post a huge 560 for six declared in their first innings and the Tigers are eyeing a win in the Test. Despite reaching the new milestone, when asked to compare this double hundred with the previous two, the experienced cricketer perhaps gave a message by saying this was the easiest pitch among the three. His comment perhaps tells Bangladesh batsmen not to have a false sense of security when they face tougher opponents. During a more than 20-minute press conference, Mushfiqur spoke about his emotions, achievements and about his future. The excerpts of the press conference are given below:
On whether he feels relieved after his third double ton
There is nothing to be relieved about. If you notice I have scored 74 in my last Test innings. I never felt pressure, not even when I came to play here. I think whenever I am playing my importance should be to contribute behind the victory of the team. There was a plan from our team that someone from the top six should score hundred, 150 or a double-hundred once they get set. Mominul tried well and batted really well. I think everyone tried hard from their end and I was lucky that I was able to score the double-hundred, but the most important thing is our team is in very good situation which, was badly needed for us.
On comparing this double ton to the previous two
If you ask about comparisons, it was perhaps the easiest wicket to bat on. And it's not that they [Zimbabwe] had very threatening bowlers who were swinging the ball or turning, or even had a mystery bowler in the line-up. Among the three double-centuries I scored, I think this was the easiest wicket.
On whether he eyed for a triple hundred
Yes, obviously I had a plan. To be honest I did not think we would declare the innings at that time as we still had two days in hand. I had it in my mind as Liton was at the other end, so I thought if he could score his hundred then I will also have the opportunity to score a triple hundred. It might not be possible today [Monday] but we could have done that inside the first session tomorrow [today]. I will try to utilise the opportunity if it arises in future. Weather could be a reason but I haven't asked yet. We have a quality bowling attack and I hope that this innings will be enough for us to win the game.
On whether he is now pressure-free after he left keeping
How am I pressure-free? I think the pressure has increased as it was two departments previously and I could have gotten help from one if I failed in another. But now there's only one as I can't bowl (smiles). I think we have to accept the reality and I am getting older now. I think it's time to focus on the other side.
On whether he feels that this is his peak time and also the time to take his batting average over forty
This is Bangladesh, here, at this stage of your career is when you get dropped. I never felt this is my peak time but at the same time if you notice in world cricket, this should be the time for a bowler or batsman to mature. After playing for over 12-15 years it is important to give returns on the investment. I am trying to maximise my score from a hundred to a double or even a triple while trying to remain unbeaten. It will be good both for me and the team.
On surpassing Tamim and becoming the highest run-scorer in Tests
Alhamdulillah, I didn't know that. Tamim knows obviously, he knows everything (smiles), I have always said that he is my favourite batsman. There is always a healthy competition between me and Tamim and we always encourage each other. I know we enjoy each other's achievements, which are for the team.
It was a normal celebration and I did not think ahead about what I was going to do. My son is a big fan of dinosaurs and whenever he watches dinosaurs, he celebrates and gets excited about it. My double century was for him. No, no…I didn't do it (celebration after hundred) targeting anybody. In my career I never did anything for revenge. I will be fighting with myself till the end of my career. What I thought was that if I could make the double hundred, I would do it for my son and that inspired me to reach my target in the end.
4413 runs- Mushfiqur Rahim, in his 130th innings, becomes the highest run-scorer for the Tigers in Tests, surpassing Tamim Iqbal's 4405 runs in 115 innings.
203 not out - Mushfiqur became the only Bangladesh batsman to score three double hundreds in Tests. His first double-hundred came against Sri Lanka in 2013 while his second double-ton came against Zimbabwe in 2018.
1st- It was the first hundred in Tests for Mushfiqur playing only as a batsman. His previous six centuries came as a wicketkeeper-batsman.
222- Third and highest double-hundred partnership between Mushfiqur and Mominul Haque. Imrul Kayes and Tamim Iqbal previously had two double hundred partnerships in Tests for the Tigers.
9 – It was Mominul's ninth Test hundred. He now equals Tamim Iqbal for the most hundreds by a Bangladesh batsman.
560/6 declared- Highest total at home for the Tigers, surpassing the previous best of 556 against West Indies in 2012. This was also the Tigers' third-highest total in Test, behind 638 against Sri Lanka in 2013 and 595 for 8 against New Zealand in 2017.