Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bangladesh wicketkeeper-bat, has hit the nets with an ultra-aggressive mindset, preparing for the upcoming Asia Cup, scheduled to start in UAE from August 27.
Mushfiqur, who is making a return to the national T20 setup, last played a T20I against Afghanistan in March this year. There is a possibility that he might be seen in a different role as the team management is pondering over opening the innings with Mushfiqur in the Asia Cup, though a final decision in this regard will be taken after the arrival of head coach Russell Domingo, who is expected to arrive on Friday (August 19).
However, over the days of individual practice sessions of national cricketers at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Mushfiqur has been seen preparing with a different mindset. The veteran batter, who usually takes some time before practising his power strokes, was seen hitting all the balls out of the ground right from the start.
On Wednesday, Mushfiqur's BKSP - the country's lone sports institute - mentor Nazmul, turned up to see his ward preparing for the Asia Cup. ''When Mushfiqur came to BKSP, he was an opener and I know that personally (because I was involved with the institute at that point of time) and later he came down to middle-order for his own career. He is a middle-order batsman now and opening the innings is a challenge, and I am not sure how much he can prepare himself (for opening) but his experience will naturally help him, and in T20s if it is required Mushfiqur can open,'' Nazmul told reporters after the practice session. ''I saw Mushfiqur is trying to hit big sixes but earlier we haven't seen that because at that point he used to bat according to his pace and prepared differently but now there is a change (in his preparation).
''He can open, provided he plays with the right attitude because it is not important to be a good player rather it is important to be an effective player. If Mushfiqur opens, then he will have to play according to the nature of T20 cricket and follow the grammar of T20s. If he scores 80 runs, it has to be in 50 or 55 balls, or else it's of no use. If his attitude and approach is right, it is possible. The mental change is required,'' he said,
Nazmul added that he was sure Mushfiqur had a better understanding of power-hitting now and that handling the new ball will not be a problem for him.
"I am confident that Mushfiqur can do power hitting and I hoped that in Zimbabwe he would take chances in the opening game, where he scored 50 runs. I think he is understanding power-hitting a bit better and even today I saw him play some good shots. In the coming three to four days, if he practices, he will be more comfortable and effectively play over the top. "Mushfiqur has played big innings in difficult conditions, so I am sure he can overcome (the challenges of facing the new ball),'' he said. Bangladesh have picked Anamul Haque and Parvez Hossain for the opening slot in their 17-member squad while they will be missing the services of regular opener Liton Das as he has been ruled out due to injury. The team management did not opt for Soumya Sarkar or Nayeem Sheikh as the other opener, as they are well aware of their shortcomings against spin, which will pose a problem while facing spin-heavy teams like Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in the group phase.