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PSL the perfect platform for Mustafizur to spring surprise away from home


Jannatul Naym Pieal

Aussie pacer Josh Hazzlewood might have grabbed the ICC Emerging Player of the Year a fortnight ago, but it was Bangladesh’s Mustafizur Rahman, the real revelation of world cricket in the year 2015, who has been the most-talked about cricketer ever since he produced one of the finest international debuts against India in June this year.

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The wonder-kid hasn’t yet played away from home with the national team and it remains to be seen how mesmerising he can be on more lively pitches in England and Australia. However, picked in the Pakistan Super League T20 by Lahore Qalandars, the experience of playing in the United Arab Emirates will be the first international stage tournament he will play outside Bangladesh.

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The cutter master hailing from a remote village of Satkhira, who took the world cricket by storm, making a groundbreaking ODI debut against India in June by snatching 13 wickets in just 3 games with two hauls of five and six wickets respectively, will have the first hand experience also that how he fares at foreign soil and whether his stock weapon – cutter and slower — works there well.

International media, even of that in India who are always keen to offend Bangladesh and its cricket anyway, were full of praise for Mustafizur throughout the year. Big names pondered about his skills as he outplayed any opponent that came his way. He played nine ODIs till date – three each against India, South Africa and Zimbabwe – and took 26 wickets as Bangladesh celebrated three back-to-back series wins.

Mustafizur is the only cricketer in the history of the game to have won Man-of-the-Match awards in both his Test and ODI debuts. Against the Proteas, his spells were pivotal in the ODIs. And then in the Chittagong Test that followed, the cutter-master took his first three wickets in just four balls, to simply go through South Africa’s demonstrative batting force and help Bangladesh earn a 78-run lead, their biggest first innings lead over their mighty counterparts.

Again in the recently concluded third season of the BRB Cables Bangladeh Premoer League (BPL) that eventually crowned Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s Comilla Victorians as the champions, though Mustafizur’s side Dhaka Dynamites couldn’t make it to final but were eliminated from the last-four, he was simply outstanding on his own merit. His outrageous economy rate of 5.71 in his 15 Twenty20 matches proved how effective bowler he is in the cricket’s shortest format also.

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But the fact of the matter is that all of these successes Mustafizur so far achieved came on his own turf, something he definitely is very much familiar with. But a real talent like him cannot remain a homeground bully only, and so to shrug off all the jealously criticisms that are coming his way, it’s high time he could prove his credential in a condition where he is not used to. And Athar Ali Khan, country’s most popular cricket commentator and analyst, who got the opportunity of having a close look on Mustafizur while his stint as the team manager of the Dhaka Dynamites during the BPL-3, believes the young kid has got everything in him to shine outside the country as well.

“I think he will spring a surprise in PSL too. He has the capability of foxing the batsmen to great deal. He has got the talent and he is a keen learner. All those made him the best in short period. He bowled well in BPL but got little support from the other end. He was very difficult bowler for batsmen. If you followed BPL closely, you would see, no batsmen could take him with utter comfort,” said Athar.

The former Bangladesh opener went on saying, “Mustafizur’s off-cutter and slower wasn’t dealt with properly by anyone. The ball with which he got Chris Gayle was amazing. To me, that was the ball of the tournament.”

According to the cricket pundit, the flat nature of wickets that are seen very often in the UAE would suit Mustafizur well and so he has the chance to be more than successful in the inaugural season of PSL. “It (PSL) will be played in the UAE where most of the wickets are spin-friendly and quite dry or flat. Mustafizur particularly finds these types of wickets to his liking. I think he will do something amazing, something magical. Just keep your finger crossed,” concluded Athar.

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