the wicket keeper Mushfiqur Rahim

the wicket keeper Mushfiqur Rahim In 2010, an important moment came in Mushfiqur Rahim's cricket career. Three years ago, he failed an audition for the No. 4 position in Bangladesh's

Oct 18, 2023 - 13:55
Oct 18, 2023 - 14:04

In 2010, an important moment came in Mushfiqur Rahim's cricket career. Three years ago, he failed an audition for the No. 4 position in Bangladesh's batting line-up, scoring 7 and 0 in the latter stages of their World Cup journey.

Now, in 2010, he returned to the role. He will not only secure his status as Bangladesh's most successful No. 4 in ODI cricket, but also place himself alongside some of the world's greats. Amassing 4,000 runs in over 100 innings and scoring eight of his nine centuries at No.4, Mushfiqur Rahim finds himself in the esteemed company of cricket legends.

Narrowing it down to the last decade, Mushfiqur Rahim's influence at number 4 becomes even more evident. During this period, he is second in total runs, behind only Ross Taylor. His impressive average and effective strike-rate embellished his run tally, and he is one of only three batsmen to have amassed 3000 runs during this period.

Barring 2022, when he had a poor year, and 2020, when he played just two ODIs, Mushfiqur Rahim has been a prolific run-getter over the past ten years, with 70 per cent of his runs coming at No.4. Despite the impressive track record, Mushfiqur Rahim's position has changed significantly in 2023 - he has predominantly occupied the number 6 spot, with occasional appearances at number five.

The strategic move to keep him at No.6 was implemented during the home ODI series against Ireland and the veteran batsman showed his mastery in the position with 44 in two innings and an unbeaten 100.

"The plan was that Towhid Hriday would bat at number four because he would get runs at a higher strike rate and Mushfiqur would come in at six because he wanted to open some time and play the role of a finisher," selector Habibul Bashar said. livecricketbd, Mushfiqur explains the reasoning behind Mushfiqur Rahim's six. "He is doing well and has adapted quite well to his new position and has no problems in his new role."

However, the biggest concern for the team management is the contribution of the top four batsmen, which further emphasizes the significance of Mushfiqur Rahim's position at No.6. While Nazmul Hossain Shanto has been in good form batting at number 3 (two centuries and six fifties in 2023), the performances of the rest of the top-order batsmen have not been nearly as promising.

Collectively, the top four managed an average of 28.83 in 23 matches, while teams like India and South Africa averaged over 50 for their top four batsmen. Among the 10 teams participating in this World Cup, Bangladesh have the lowest top-four average and the second-lowest top-four strike rate.

This creates a catch-22 for Bangladesh, who are torn between the temptation to back up Mushfiqur Rahim to solve their top-order woes and the need to maintain his reliable presence in the middle order as insurance against unexpected shocks.

With 552 runs at an impressive average of 61.33 since the start of this year, Mushfiqur Rahim stands as the leading run-scorer among No.6 batsmen. In his 12 innings, he scored one century and five half-centuries. The only other player to come close to 500 runs in as many innings is South Africa's David Miller. Given these numbers and Mushfiqur Rahim's seamless adaptation to his new role, it is likely that Bangladesh will not consider a change.

I think if you are talking about bringing back Mushfiqur at number 4, it is because our top order is not performing. But you have to see that he has adapted very well to his new position and fulfilled the role as a finisher quite successfully," said Bashar.

Khaled Mahmood, the team director, agreed with Bashar's assessment and said Mushfiqur Rahim's ability to handle the old ball well makes him an important cog in the lower order. "Middle-order is a tough position - number five, six and seven, we need experience there. I think Mushfiqur can handle that pressure at number six because the new ball is both easier and harder but with the old ball, after the speed drops, it is difficult to bat. It's not that he can't bat at four and five, as he used to bat in that position before, but his role as defined by the team (at number six) is pretty clear to him at the moment, and he's doing well.

The problem is that we haven't been able to give him the platform to express himself at the number six position because very few of us can play the shots that Mushfiqur can play,” Mahmood added. “We don't have many specialists who can play. Can take scoop shots against fast bowlers like Mushfiqur, and I don't see anything wrong with batting him at six as Mushfiqur can adapt against yorkers and slower balls, which is expected at that stage of the innings. If we can provide the right platform, then we will understand why Mushfiqur at number six is so important."

Mushfiqur Rahim has evolved into a versatile batsman, showing his adaptability to various batting positions over the years and performing consistently for Bangladesh. It appears that Bangladesh are hesitant to use a strong link in the batting line-up to address the weak links - at least for now.

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