If Twenty20 cricket has to find an all-rounder who excelled in the format there cannot be anyone better choice than Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi, who led Pakistan to
the world title and scored over 1,100 runs alongside 82 wickets.
In one-day international cricket, India’s Rohit Sharma is the only man to score two double centuries and his 264 against Sri Lanka is the highest ever individual score in ODI history till date.
Hashim Amla’s Test record of 23 centuries in 82 matches at 52.78 already put him in the stature of one of the modern greats.
Bangladesh’s Mustafizur Rahman put Afridi, Sharma and Amla in one bracket on Tuesday, making them his first victims in Twenty20 international, ODI and Test respectively.
Hardly any bowler can began his career in such an auspicious way in all three formats like Mustafiz did, as the left-arm pacer continued his giant killing act on his Test debut.
Bangladesh won the match in his Twenty20 and ODI debut, though this is too early to predict if they can do the same in Test too. Irrespective of the outcome of the game, Mustafiz, however, ensured his name will go down in history for his memorable debuts in all formats.
His exploit of 4-37 in South Africa’s first innings on Tuesday may not appear that great at first look with some other Bangladeshi bowlers enjoying a better performance in their Test debut.
But it has something that was badly missing in many other bowlers – the cutting edge – which can very well define Bangladesh’s cricket once again should they prevail over the Proteas.
With a strong batting line up, South Africa had little reason to worry despite some tight bowling from Bangladesh in the post lunch session, which yielded just 61 runs in 29 overs.
But Mustafiz produced the magical moment so typical of him in the final session, taking three wickets in the space of four balls to change the scenario completely.
His dismissal of Amla, JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock broke the back bone of South Africa’s innings, leaving them dismissed for 248 runs in what initially looked like an easy going pitch.
In ODIs, Mustafiz showed he usually takes some time to take his game into peak, taking most of his wickets in second spell and his Test debut was not an exception.
‘I was not bowling that good in the first spell,’ a tacit Mustafiz said after opening day’s play. ‘But I was trying hard and looking to build partnership with the bowler from the other side.
‘At least I was trying to bowl some dot balls. I knew if we can create pressure from both ends wicket will come.’
Mohammad Shahid did the job for the Tigers to bowl five consecutive maiden overs after the lunch break and it was just a matter of time for the other bowlers to reap the reward.
Mustafiz had to find some other tricks after his customary off-cutter proved to be less effective in Test where batsman has always the liberty to play a ball or leave it alone.
He relied mostly on late swing to take his wickets providing another example of his variation that is so crucial if he is to take his game into the next level in future.
‘In ODIs I tried it [off-cutter] twice or thrice in every over. But in Test I bowled it only once in a two or three overs,’ said Mustafiz. ‘I knew batmen will not go after runs all the time in Test. So I bowled it less.’
Those, who suggested he was rushed in Test cricket, it provided an answer for them.
-With New Age input