He is one of the fantastic five of Bangladesh cricket. A strictly disciplined and committed cricketer, Mushfiqur Rahim has not missed a one-day international since 2010 -- a stretch of 92 consecutive ODIs. He picked up a finger injury during the first Test against Pakistan in Khulna last year. Still he featured in the second Test in Dhaka purely as a batsman. The Bangladesh Test captain only missed two T20Is early this year against Zimbabwe after suffering a cramp, but he will miss today's second ODI against New Zealand at the Saxton Oval in Nelson.
His hamstring injury during the first ODI against New Zealand in Christchurch on Monday however could not come at a worse time when Bangladesh were desperately looking to secure their first-ever win against the Black Caps in their own den -- especially because it is in the shorter format of the game where they have been doing very well for the last couple of years.
At the moment it looks like he will miss the next two ODIs as well as the three T20Is provided that he requires the mandatory two weeks to recover. But if his injury status is upgraded from Grade 1 to 2 after the scan, than there is a possibility of him missing part of the two-Test series.
That will lead the Bangladesh think-tank to a completely different scenario and for the team in general to live without one of their fantastic five -- Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Mushfiqur, Mahmudullah Riyad, Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal. These five players have formed the nucleus of the team and were responsible for Bangladesh's rise in international cricket over the years. Shakib has missed an entire series in 2013 and Tamim also missed a few games. But those were on home turf.
Mushfiqur's absence in trying conditions down under is definitely a shattering blow for the Tigers.
“He has been one of our form batters and wicketkeeper across three formats. It's quite a blow but it is part and parcel of the game. We have another wicketkeeper, [Nurul Hasan] Sohan is coming into the next game,” said Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha yesterday.
He also admitted that Mushfiqur's injury has upset the balance of the team.
“If Mushfiqur was fit we could have thought differently with the selection of the team. Yes, Sohan is coming, who is good with the bat. I'm not saying he is as good as Mushfiqur with the bat and he has not played that much of international cricket,” said the coach, adding that he was hoping for the best in the next few days.
“It's early to say at this stage. We think that it's two weeks but he is recovering well. I saw him in the pool today and you know Mushfiqur is very thorough and he will do the same thing with his injury. And he will be ready sooner than we think,” said an optimistic Hathurusingha.
He can be optimistic in the context that the Tigers have overcome one barrier after another against all odds over the last two years. But this is the first time Bangladesh will be without one of their senior statesmen in foreign conditions, which is certainly cause for concern.
“Although Mushfiqur is a big part of our team, the strange thing is that we have just had a meeting and they were more confident then the way they started,” the coach quipped, referring to his side's newfound ability to revel in extreme adversity.