Mustafizur's absence a chance for someone else to shine, reckons Shakib

Bangladesh’s T20I skipper Shakib al Hasan said that his team will certainly miss the services of pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman and urged others to take up the responsibility in the series against Afghanistan.

Bangladesh is scheduled to play three Twenty20 Internationals against Afghanistan at Rajiv Gandhi Stadiu in Dehradhun, on June 3, 5 and 7. While Bangladesh have reached India, Shakib left Dhaka on Thursday (May 31) after an extended break to recuperate after the Indian Premier League, where he played for the runners-up Sunrisers Hyderabad.

The unexpected absence of Mustafizur due to his toe injury came as a big blow for Bangladesh who were relying on him to lead the pace bowling department, only to learn about his unavailability at the last moment. What added to the team’s agony was that the board did not name his replacement immediately and instead waited for the team management to let them know about their requirements after seeing the conditions. Pacer Abul Hassan inclusion as replacement of Mustafiz only suggest there will be enough carry for the pace bowlers to exploit against Afghanistan in the upcoming series.

“Certainly there will be some problem [as he is not available],” Shakib told reporters ahead of joining the squad. “He is our best T20 bowler and so naturally it becomes difficult for us. At the same time it opens up an opportunity for someone and I am looking forward to see someone grab that with both hands,” he added.

Shakib said that they will go into the series taking one game at a time, while acknowledging that the series opener will set the tone. Afghanistan are ranked eighth in the ICC T20 rankings while Bangladesh are two places behind them, on the tenth spot.

“We will take it match by match” said Shakib. “The first match is always important as it helps to gather the momentum. If we can win the opening game then the next two games become much more easy,” he concluded.

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