Why does Mushfiqur bat so down?
In the showdown of batsmen’s collective fall in the first Test match against Zimbabwe, Mushfiqur Rahim was undoubtedly the best batsman from the Bangladesh squad. But the question remains, why does the best batsman bat so down?
In the Sylhet Test, the historic one that turned a nightmarish one, Mushfiqur came to bat at six. Though it’s nothing new for him. Of the 63 Tests he has played so far, he batted at number six in 33 of the. So quite naturally he finds most success in this position. Still, in absence of Shakib and Tamim, wouldn’t it be better to move him up the order?
It’s a fact that the best batsman of the team never does come to bat so late. They always come soon and take the responsibility on their shoulder. Sir Don Bradman did it. Viv Richards did it. Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Kumar Sangakkara, and even Virat Kohli of this present generation — all batted or bats up the order.
On the other hand, Mushfiqur has the best ability among Bangladeshi batsmen to read the game situation in a Test match and bat accordingly. Even if he comes to bat at number six the most, he has some very good batting records. Four of his five centuries came batting at this position. Highest seven half-centuries also came from here.
Mushfiqur has so far batted at number four, five, six, seven and eight. And he has the best average batting at six – 37.18. And when the team was without Shakib and Tamim, Mushfiqur was bound to take more responsibilities than ever. He had to play the key role.
But just think for once, is this really possible to play the most vital role batting so down the order? If the best batsman comes early, the lower order also doesn’t get exposed early. And it means less pressure on the team.
But Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah Riyad still wants to stick to the past theory that Mushfiqur should bat so late because he is most successful there. “Yes, he could bat a bit higher. I am not saying it was impossible. But I think he is most comfortable batting at six. He has some big innings batting at five-six. You might see some shuffle and change in the batting order when we play our next match.”
But if the change comes in the batting position, will Mushfiqur too come to bat early? Replying this query, Mahmudullah reiterates the same thing again, “I have to dicsuss it with Mushfiqur and the team management. If we play Mushfiqur at six, we get some batting depth.”
That’s for sure. But the so-called ‘batting depth’ doesn’t come to play all the time, like what we have witnessed in the shameful first Test loss to Zimbabwe.