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‘Captains Trust me’ -Mustafizur


The country hangs on his every word and action, but it is easy to forget that Mustafizur Rahman is like any other 20-year-old Bangladeshi boy, albeit marked by a maturity that enables him to perform sterling deeds with the ball on the cricket field. Homesickness is a major issue that he is trying to overcome, the joys of riding and owning motorcycles is very close to his heart. His love for bashing the tape-tennis ball seems second to none, while his philosophy on sporting injuries belie the mind of a clear-thinker. He speaks on these subjects with
The Daily Star’s Sports Editor Mohammed Al-Amin in the second instalment of our two-part interview with the Fizz.

If I stay away from home for a long time I feel a bit sad but at the same time I console myself by thinking that the game I play is my main job. When I’m playing I don’t feel that much of homesickness. But when there is a break or holidays and I can’t go home it disturbs me the most. It is true that I think of my home before a game but once I’m on the field I forget everything. I only think, if I get 10 overs or four overs, about how to bowl in different spells. However, I’m learning to accept the reality [that he will have to stay away from home].

On his passion for bikes
Actually I didn’t travel around that much this time at home. I rode my bike just once. I had gone to a field to see my friends playing football. But this time I preferred driving my car because it was raining and it would have been risky to ride my bike. I always loved to have a bike. During the Asia Cup there were three bikes up for grabs [as the man-of-the-match prize]. I told my family and friends back home that if I get one I will give it to them. But I didn’t get one. Now I have got a bike and want more. It’s my hobby. I may not drive every day, but at least it’s good to have your options. I have a car which runs on automatic transmission. I didn’t prefer a manual-transmission car because in that case I will have to use both my hands and legs. Isn’t it easy to use just one leg?

On his injury
My logic is that, if I hide an injury and then end up bowling badly in the game it hurts the team. There is also a strong possibility of aggravating my injury. It also deprives someone an opportunity. If someone plays instead of me, it can be good for him, his career and help the team as well. So there’s no gain in hiding injuries. It hurts you. The issue of injury goes along with how your captain treats you on the field. [Abdur Razzak] Raj bhai cared for me the most during the National Cricket League. He told me that if I can bowl even one over in a session, he won’t mind. He gave me enough rest as well.

Secret behind not overstepping
Before the Asia Cup I had a few problems with no-balls. After that I kept practising with markers and with umpires present during training. I tried hard to solve the problem. This was before the Asia Cup, when we had a session in Chittagong. Over there I used to bowl plenty of no-balls in almost every practice game. After that I changed my shoes and changed my spikes. I bought a pair of Adidas shoes and then it got better. Before that I noticed that I bowled no-balls even when I was in good rhythm. I think the shoes that I wore previously used to hurt my knee a lot. I didn’t like that and so I changed it.

Captain’s go-to man
When I bowl, captains trust me in general. Mashrafe [Bin Mortaza] bhai for instance trusts me so the field is set up accordingly. Sometimes when everyone is conceding plenty of runs, I think of giving less runs and then suggest a field set-up that way. Then there are times when the field is tight when I bowl. Sometimes I tell bhai: “Bhai, if you keep the fielder there it may be better.” He then tells me, this is good, you bowl [laughs].

The batsman at home
The bat is mine when I’m at home. It’s really fun when I take the field with all my friends around me. They just keep on bowling one after another and I try to entertain everyone with the bat. I really love batting against that tennis ball. I also do a lot of batting with my brothers in our backyard. We have also erected sufficient netting on top of the trees so that the ball is not lost. I love playing tape-tennis competitions in my hometown and I can turn and bounce that ball more. After the first match against Pakistan when I returned home I took part in a competition organised by the local people. It’s very popular and players like [Mohammad] Ashraful bhai took part. I got him out and he didn’t score much.

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