Bangladesh off-spinner Mahedi Hasan has praised Mustafizur Rahman after the pacer played a starring role in the first two games of the ongoing five-match T20I series against Australia. Ahead of the third T20I, Ashton Agar, too, voiced his admiration for the seamer’s ‘incredible’ skills.
Bangladesh had lost each of their first four T20Is against Australia prior to the start of the series before the tables were turned in the first two games of the ongoing series. Their success thus far has been brought about by their disciplined and all-round bowling show in tough batting conditions. Leading the way, with his shrewd variations, is Mustafizur Rahman, who returned with figures of 2/16 and 3/23 respectively while conceding runs at a miserly 4.88.
Mahedi Hasan, who spent his formative years playing alongside Mustafizur, reminisced his exploits then and regarded him a “great asset” in Bangladesh’s current limited-overs outfit.
''We all know what kind of a valuable player Mustafiz (Rahman) is, and we have been playing together from our childhood,” Mahedi told reporters, as reported by Cricbuzz.
“And when we were playing the national league cricket, our pace units had always been based on him. Mustafizur is a great asset in our condition as the opposition batsmen need to check every delivery from him before playing. And he is as sharp as he was before and he will improve with each passing day and bring breakthroughs at crucial juncture of the game.''
Mustafizur’s performance prompted tones of appreciation from the visitors’ camp too, with Ashton Agar, the all-rounder, highlighting the challenges from a batter’s perspective.
"He (Mustafizur) is a difficult customer. He is really good," Agar told reporters. “His ability to bowl that slower ball (is very good). If you watch it in slow motion, (you will see) he pretty much does it with his wrist and his fingers. It's incredible, incredible skill. Amazing revolution."
"It's a great slower ball as well because it's not too slow and it's got a lot of revolution,” added the 27-year-old, who was himself dismissed for a first-ball duck by Mustafizur in the second T20I. “It might kick quite a bit off the surface, it might go low, might not or it might spin a lot.
"It's super variable. And he gives himself that opportunity to put as much as he can on the ball. I think he bowls the majority of his slow balls and that's how we have to play."
Bangladesh’s back-to-back wins have now given them a great chance to seal the series against the fifth-ranked T20I outfit. Mahedi, however, stressed the importance of focusing on one game at a time, rather than getting too far ahead.
''It's not only me, everyone in the team is thinking to move forward on match-by-match process,'' Mahedi said. ''As we have the third T20I match coming up tomorrow, we are fully focusing on that and later we will think of the next game.
"At the end of the day the team result is the most important. And everything seems to be in place when there is a positive result from the team as it helps the players to concentrate more and we are confident about our next game.''
The third T20I will be played at Dhaka’s Shere Bangla National Stadium on Friday, August 6.