I have taken it as a challenge to score abroad: Mushfiqur Rahim

Rahim is a part of Bangladesh squad for the Asia Cup.

Musshfiqur Rahim for Bangladesh. (BD 24)Former Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim has said that scoring runs in overseas conditions is a challenge which he has relished taking and that the presence of Shakib, Tamim and Mahmudullah in the batting line up has eased the workload from his shoulders. 

"Tamim [Iqbal], Shakib [Al Hasan], Riyad [Mahmudullah] and myself have often discussed that as a batting group, we should take the lead. I didn't do well in the West Indies Tests, but in the next opportunity, I hope I do better. In New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka, I have tried hard to play to my ability."

He also spoke regarding the various aspects of his batting and his overall game in an exclusive interview with ESPN Cricinfo. He picked up three of his best overseas tons in Test cricket as well. "The Wellington hundred was quite special. I was out with an injury after the first ODI and neither the team nor I had a great record in New Zealand. By Allah's grace, I played a good innings. Tamim and Mominul should get a lot of the credit because of how they tackled the new ball and got us past the difficult part in those conditions. It became slightly easier for Shakib and I for the rest of the innings."

The Hyderabad century is not too far behind. India is one of the best sides in the world, and they have a superb bowling attack. It was a dream to score a hundred against them, and I was leading in Bangladesh's first Test on Indian soil. These two, for me, are very special hundreds.

Rahim next thanked Chandika Haturusingha for bringing in minor changes to his batting technique which has helped him evolve his game in the last few years. 

I should give some credit to Chandika Hathurusingha, our last coach. I spoke to him freely about this and he backed me. He said that I should play this way with confidence. There used to be a time when I held myself back after we lost early wickets. I would play slowly and then cash in later. But he told me not to think about the scoreboard and back my ability if I thought the wicket was good for strokeplay.

"I was able to do it in the 2015 World Cup, by Allah's grace. It gave me a lot of confidence playing in such a big tournament against such bowling attacks. Even matches against Afghanistan and Scotland weren't easy."

He next spoke regarding the motivation which has kept his going to represent Pakistan in the last 12 years. He also took great pride in saying that there is no greater pride than playing for your country. 

"I don't think I have still maximised my ability to provide for Bangladesh. It is the only motivation. It is a luxury to represent your country for 12-13 years. At the end of my career, I want to feel that I have been able to justify the opportunity given to me. This is what keeps me eager. I set small goals, series by series. I try heart and soul. I have tried to maintain my fitness."

It should be the first and final word to represent a country. We make a lot of sacrifices by staying away from our families for months. There's no greater pride than doing something for your country. When you know that 18-20 crore [180-200 million] people pray for you - a rickshaw-puller may have given up on his day's earning just watching our match; so it drives me. You don't need any more motivation. There's no bigger privilege. A lot of talented cricketers started off with me but Allah gave me the opportunity [to keep going].

He next spoke regarding the presence of seniors in the team. "A large credit for my consistency in the last four or five years is due to these four players. Life becomes easier when you are batting with Shakib, Riyad bhai or Tamim. Cricket is not an individual sport. Partnerships are vital, and all of us have had match-winning contributions through big stands. The five of us have tried extremely hard in the last four or five years, and we have found ways to perform at the highest level. It is a privilege to play with such a generation of cricketers. Mashrafe bhai is incomparable; Shakib, Tamim and Riyad bhai are all world-class players."

He rounded up keeping his views on the upcoming World Cup in England next year. 

"A team needs momentum to do well in a big tournament. It cannot just turn up and win it. If we can do well in the Asia Cup and against West Indies and New Zealand, we will have confidence as a team, which is particularly important for a team like ours.

Champions Trophy is in the past, and we have a bigger challenge coming up. I think if the entire team can build this momentum leading up to the World Cup, we could have a memorable tournament with great performances. "



By Anshuman Roy - 06 Sep, 2018

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