Former national captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza reserved perhaps the biggest compliment for Mushfiqur Rahim. In an article published in the leading Bangla daily Prothom Alo yesterday, Mashrafe termed the new Bangladesh captain as honest, sincere and a very good team man. And if he can add his own performance on the field, the little wicketkeeper-batsman with all these facets certainly has a bright prospect ahead.
But there is a thin line between having these qualities and putting them in practice. And on Wednesday night in front of 10,000 cricket fans at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, the Bangladesh captain got his first chance to demonstrate those qualities when left-arm spinner Sohrawardi Shuvo Mankaded (running a batsman out while he is backing up for a run) Rokibul for a vital breakthrough in the final between Bangladesh and the second string national team.
Rokibul, batting on 32 along with Bangladesh A captain Mahmudullah Riyad at that time, might have been very disappointed with the dismissal, but Shuvo had done exactly what is allowed within the laws of the game. Shuvo jumped in the air and everybody including Mushfiq ran to congratulate him. This is quite natural in any game where you only look for a positive result. But here I think Mushfiq lost an opportunity to think beyond the stereotype mindset and look at the bigger picture by first patting Shuvo for a smart job and then allowing Rokibul to continue his innings.
By doing that Mushfiq could have put a lot of logic to justify his decision. Firstly, it was a game where performance of every individual was more important than the result itself. So, by allowing Rokibul to bat he could have created an interesting option for the selectors, who took the game as an opportunity to weigh options for the final selection of the Bangladesh squads for the home series against West Indies next month.
Secondly, it allowed him to claim that he was not only the captain of 11 players he was leading in the match but the skipper of all the players on the field aspiring to be a part of the Bangladesh squad.
Thirdly and most importantly, it definitely would have allowed Mushfiq to earn respect from his teammates, if not made him an instant hit like Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for his generous gesture towards England batsman Ian Bell in the second Test at Trent Bridge in July.
It is understood that these little things and finer details in the character of a cricketer comes through a well-thought system, which actually is not in place in our conventional setup where the idea of the game is limited to a set pattern.
But in a team that is often dogged by controversy, Mushfiq with all the credentials as an honest, sincere and perfect team man lost an opportunity to pass the first test of becoming a leader of men that Bangladesh desperately need to thrive as a unit.
-With The Daily Star input