There`s no value for experience in Bangladesh: Mushfiqur
Published: 10:04 PM, 18 May 2022
Mushfiqur Rahim; File Photo
"Only in Bangladesh, I have seen that people compare me to Bradman when I score a century, but then when I don't score runs, I feel like digging a hole for myself. I am one of the senior players so we are not going to be around for long. But this is becoming a culture, so the younger players need the support. If I have to spend so much time tackling these things off the field, our on-field duties get affected."
Mushfiqur Rahim made quite an emotional pitch in the press conference following the fourth day's play, even if slightly hyperbolic. It came on a day when he registered is eighth Test century, en route which he became the first Bangladesh player to register 5000 Test runs.
The right-handed batter had gone through a testing time in recent months, having failed to reach the three-digit mark in the 18 innings he has played since making his double hundred against Zimbabwe in 2020. The only time he came close to the mark was when he scored 91 against Pakistan in 2021. The only other fifty-plus score during this period came during the tour of South Africa recently.
On Wednesday, at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Mushfiqur reached his century with a faint tickle off Asitha Fernando down the leg side and celebrated the mark with a fist pump after having some exchange of words and glares with the bowler. His celebration seemed like it was pointed towards the bowler.
"I am sure I am allowed a bit of celebration after scoring a hundred, isn't it?," said Mushfiqur at the end of the day's play. "He (Fernando) was bowling at me in the heat. Both their fast bowlers were fantastic. Such a battle usually motivates you. We did exchange a few words, but that's part of cricket. We later appreciated each other.
However, he remained critical of the critics who don't support players through their low phase. "(What is being said) is not desirable for a player."
He further added, "I think there's no value for experience in Bangladesh. It is a huge deal to have played for 17 years. Allah has written what awaits me, and I want to perform that much well."
Despite his frustration, it was a momentous day for the 'keeper-batter. His efforts not only allowed Bangladesh to take a 68-run first innings lead over Sri Lanka but also helped him surpass Tamim Iqbal to the race to the 5000-run mark.
Mushfiqur, who resumed the day on 53 runs, was well aware that he needed 15 more runs to reach the historical landmark and took 48 deliveries to score those runs. He reached the mark with a push towards fine leg off Asitha to pick up a two.
"It is a great feeling to become the first Bangladeshi to reach 5,000 Test runs. But I am sure I am not the last one. There'll be a lot of capable players among our seniors and juniors who can reach 8,000 or 10,000 runs," he said.
"My goal (in my debut Test) was to play the second Test (laughs). I didn't do well in my first Test. Being a 'keeper-batsman, I always gave priority to Tests. You are judged by how many big hundreds you get in the format. I always wanted to play Tests for a long time so that I can make big achievements as an individual and a team. There's no limit to success, but I am very happy with my achievement."
In the process of reaching that landmark, he outpaced his teammate Tamim Iqbal, who had retired hurt after scoring a century on Day 3. The southpaw returned to bat on Wednesday but was dismissed without adding to his overnight score of 133.
"He (Tamim) knows all these things (records) and he was close. He told me, I couldn't get there, you did. He congratulated me. I always think that it is a better feeling what your brother, teammate or friend achieves. Records are meant to be broken. I was so happy when Tamim broke my highest individual score. He told me then that within next two or three years, I will end up breaking his record again. It is a healthy competition, and this is how it should be. We as teammates help each other."
Mushfiqur, who scored his slowest Test hundred, battled it out for seven hours and 48 minutes in the scorching heat. His decision to stay away from his in-famous reverse sweep through the course of his innings played a big part in his long survival but he insisted that he is not ready to give up his high-risk productive shot.
"It depends on how the wicket plays," he said. "There's no question of playing such shots (like reverse sweep) when you can play down the line. This is a batting-friendly wicket where you can back your strength to play your shots with the straight bat.
"I want to mention that I played three or four reverse sweeps in two of my double-centuries. Check out the video. Definitely, it is one of my high-risk shots, but I am not afraid to play it in the near future as well."