Signs point to Mushy return
Generally, Mushfiqur Rahim's mood depends on his on-field performances and, known for his sheer determination and eagerness to play every game for Bangladesh, it was a welcome sight for the team management to see the wicketkeeper-batsman back in action again.
After sustaining multiple injuries during the third ODI against New Zealand on February 20, when he added a finger wound to a wrist problem and a pre-existing rib injury, the 31-year-old went on to miss the first two Test matches.
Although Mushfiqur batted against a soft ball ahead of the second Test and experienced some pain in Wellington, yesterday was the first time that the right-hander batted properly against the cricket ball in the outer nets of the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
All eyes were on Mushfiqur as he started the net session against the fast bowlers and looked comfortable middling the ball. There were a few instances when he did look uncomfortable with his batting grip, presumably due to wrist pain, but Mushfiqur managed to continue batting for nearly 10 minutes.
Later, he faced throwdowns from trainer Mario Villavarayan, when he asked for short-pitched deliveries which he tried to duck under and also played some pull shots keeping Kiwi pacer Neil Wagner in mind.
"From what I saw in the nets, he looks good, though I haven't spoken with him after that. I was looking forward to how he bats against the pacers and I think he coped quite well so we will just find out a little bit more," Tigers head coach Steve Rhodes told The Daily Star yesterday.
Following the thrashing innings defeats in the first two Tests the team management will definitely want Mushfiqur out in the middle order for much-needed stability. As things were shaping, it seemed that Mushfiqur was well on track to make a comeback in the third Test starting from March 16, and it will be a big boost for the visitors if he does return.
Meanwhile, another experienced batsman Tamim Iqbal suffered some pain on his groin during the fielding session yesterday and did not continue practice. But it was learned later that it was nothing serious and the in-form opener is expected to train today.Weather remains one of the biggest concerns as there is rain forecast during the start of the Test match but after the bitter experience in Wellington, the visitors will definitely be aware of the situation and will surely be eyeing a positive finish to an otherwise dismal tour.