DHAKA: When MS Dhoni collided with Mustafizur Rahman during the first one-dayer against Bangladesh, the incident appeared to serve as a metaphor for the teenage paceman’s ability to block India’s path throughout the series.
Few fast-bowlers have had a more sensational debut than the 19-year-old left-armer, who picked up 13 wickets in the 2-1 victory to tie the record for the most dismissals in a three-match series with Australia’s Ryan Harris.
Mustafizur’s five-wicket haul on debut will have eased the pain of the heavy collision with Dhoni, which also cost the young bowler half of his match fee while the India skipper lost 75% of his earnings.
But for a Bangladesh side known more for relying on a spin attack, unearthing a fast-bowler who can run through the opposition with his pace and control will feel like a priceless gift from the gods.
Mustafizur followed up his dream debut with a six-for in his second appearance as Bangladesh scored a famous first ODI series triumph against the two-time 50-over world champions.
His 11 wickets in his first two matches broke Zimbabwean seamer Brian Vitori’s record of 10 victims as he sent shivers down the spine of the touring batsmen, who seemed clueless on how best to tackle him.
Mustafizur managed two more wickets in the series finale but the respect from the opposing batsmen was evident.
Bangladesh bowling coach Heath Streak said the team needed to be supportive in their management of the teenager to get the best out of him. “I think that’s where as a coach you have to be careful not to over-coach and just help guide them along,” said former Zimbabwe fast-bowler Streak. “Some people need more coaching than others. We have to be careful how we manage him. He is still very young.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2015.
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