Mushfiqur Rahim praised Robiul Islam’s work ethic and attitude and said his performances were just rewards for his efforts © AFP
Players/Officials: Mushfiqur Rahim
Matches: Zimbabwe v Bangladesh at Harare
Series/Tournaments: Bangladesh tour of Zimbabwe
Teams: Bangladesh | Zimbabwe
The Bangladesh dressing-room was a subdued enclosure after their 143-run win over Zimbabwe in the second and final Test. The team had decided to skip celebrations as a mark of respect to the victims of the Savar building collapse tragedy, one of the worst industrial accidents in Bangladesh’s history, which has resulted in 389 deaths so far.
“We dedicate this win to the Savar victims,” Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim said at the post-match press conference. “It probably contributes nothing [to their cause] but we didn’t celebrate after the win. We didn’t sing the team song. It is a very sad moment for us back home.
“We were thinking about it during the match, and we discussed it when we got back to the hotel after the first day. We have been trying to keep in touch with everyone back home because it really is a disaster and we don’t want things like this to happen.”
It was a tough five days of cricket for both sides, especially for Bangladesh who were smarting from a massive 335-run loss in the first match. There was a human tragedy playing out back home, and they were faced with the challenge of winning the second Test, something they had done only three times prior to this match in 13 years of their Test history.
But they turned it around. Mushfiqur was adjudged Man-of-the-Match for his two fifties, one of which could easily have been his third Test century. The 60 and 93 was nonetheless of great value to the team. His phlegmatic approach stood out, he rarely played a rash shot and did not let his emotions run the course of his innings. Shakib Al Hasan also scored two fifties, but the manner of his dismissals will be more remembered easily.
“Winning a Test match is an amazing feeling, especially after coming back in this manner,” Mushfiqur said. “We could have won the first Test had we applied ourselves like we did in this game. It was never going to be easy against them, but we turned it around. It is great to be awarded the Man-of-the-Match in a Test victory. Every player would tell you he dreams of this. It means a lot when your hard work pays off in this way.”
The Bangladesh captain had special praise for Robiul Islam and Nasir Hossain for the crucial performances they turned in on the second day, which helped Bangladesh gain a 109-run lead. “Robiul bowled very well in both Tests,” he said. “He works very hard, and he is one guy who gives his 100% with every ball even if he doesn’t get a wicket. We needed a bowler like him. He got just rewards for his hard work.
“The first innings in the second Test was very important for us. Remember, we hadn’t scored even 150 in both innings of the first Test. Tamim (Iqbal), Shakib and Nasir did well. I tried my best. Shiblu (Robiul) bowled very well in their first innings, and I think the 109-run lead was the turning point in this game,” he said.
It was an important win for Mushfiqur as a captain, too. He can now experience what Habibul Bashar and Shakib Al Hasan have achieved as captains. Bashar was in charge when Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe at home in 2005, their maiden Test win. Shakib took Mashrafe Mortaza’s place as the captain in the 2009 series against West Indies, and played a vital part in the two wins.
“It helps to do well as a captain. The confidence of a side is different when the captain scores some runs,” he said. “It sets an example, the attitude within the team changes. Nasir can play with responsibilities, and the younger ones will learn from him and our performance.”
Mushfiqur didn’t want to comment on the umpiring but had some tough words for the hosts. Zimbabwe Cricket’s hospitality has irked the visitors, especially the lack of practice facilities on tour.
“A visiting team doesn’t deserve the sort of practice facilities they gave us,” he said. “We had requested a morning session, but they said no. I had told the media before the second Test that we have to win to reply to such behaviour,” he said.
The side now heads to Bulawayo to play the limited overs leg of the tour, which will bring an end to the Bangladesh season. It has been a season that has seen some big scores, some personal milestones and a drawn Test in Sri Lanka. But it will always be bookmarked by this win in Harare.