Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman believes his go-to deliveries - the slower balls and the cutters - will be his best friends come the World Cup in England in May later this year. The left-armer rose to prominence with his trademark fast off-cutters, troubling the best batsmen in the world, and quickly gained a reputation as one of the best white-ball bowlers. But now, having seen his rise stunted somewhat, with injuries playing their part, the pacer is hoping to stick to his strengths at the all-important World Cup.
"I don"t have many things apart from slower balls and cutters," Mustafizur told Cricbuzz while completing his rehabilitation program at the academy on Wednesday (April 17). "For me, those [slower balls and cutter] are very important deliveries and I am hoping to stick with it. But I am trying to learn new variations. The wicket will be good for batting (in England) but I will try to give my best."
Mustafizur is currently completing the rehabilitation program to recover from the ankle injury that he sustained while with Dhaka Premier League"s side Shine Pukur Cricket Club. He featured in the DPL after a gap of four years, picked up three wickets in his 6.5-over spell to show glimpses of returning to form, but it was unfortunately short-lived.
Mustafizur said that he is not in a hurry to make a comeback immediately and is rather looking forward to completing the rehabilitation program as planned. "It"s normal to feel the pain. But there is no need to hurry because there are many days to go. There are breaks between the matches. I hope there won"t be any problem. Injuries are uncertain. You can get injured at any time."
Mustafizur has had to endure a number of injuries in his career so far. The start of the ordeal was in England in early 2016 where he picked up a shoulder strain playing in the T20 Blast. A grade-two lateral ankle injury followed while he was taking part in a football drill, ruling him out of the start of Bangladesh Premier League 2017. He also missed the T20I series against Afghanistan in Dehradun, which Afghanistan won 3-0, and also missed the Tests in the Caribbean, which Bangladesh again lost 2-0.
Mustafizur debuted in 2015 in a T20I against Pakistan but he managed to grab the spotlight while on his ODI debut against India with his five-wicket haul and followed that with another five-for against the Asian neighbours. He helped Bangladesh seal the ODI series against India for the first time and has since been considered an integral part of their bowling unit.
When asked whether he is aware of the expectations in the upcoming World Cup, Mustafizur said that he is coping with it since his debut. "I played in Twenty20 World Cup before but this is going to be my first ODI World Cup. I always had extra responsibility. Everyone expects from me so I always have more responsibilities. I always try to give my best because everyone has expectation from me."
Mustafizur believes that the tri-nation series in Ireland that also includes Windies as the third team will be a perfect platform for them to prepare for the global event. "If we perform well there it will certainly help us in the World Cup."
Bangladesh will follow the Ireland tri-nation series with two warm-up matches against Pakistan and India before they clash with South Africa in their first league match on June 2 at the Kennington Oval, London.Cricbuzz.