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"More than age, criteria should be fitness and performance": Bangladeshi batter Mushfiqur Rahim

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New Delhi | February 29, 2024 6:54:58 PM IST
Bangladesh wicketkeeper batter Mushfiqur Rahim emphasised the importance of having experienced players as well as a mix of young blood in the T20 format amid the criticism of Bangladesh's senior cricketers.

Mushfiqur is currently a part of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) franchise Fortune Barishal, which made their way into the finals after defeating Rangpur Riders by six wickets in the second Qualifier on Wednesday.

Mushfiqur, 36, is one of the oldest players in the squad, along with his compatriot Mahmudullah (38) and Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik (42) two other stars in the squad who are above 35.

All three players have chipped in important contributions throughout their campaign. Mushfiqur hit back at the criticism and stated the need to combine experience with young talent to build a team.

"Didn't you say before the tournament that Barishal is the 'team of the old'? Didn't you say that T20s can't be won with experience? I think this is the wrong concept. You need experience in every format. New players will come, and the older ones will go, but they will combine well to build the team. We want to leave a legacy, and we want the likes of [Towhid] Hridoy and Tamim [Tanzid Hasan] to leave a legacy when they become senior players [for Bangladesh]. It is supposed to be smooth sailing," Mushfiqur said, as quoted from ESPNcricinfo.

He went on to state that preference should be given to the performance and fitness of a player rather than focusing on the age factor.

"It [the criticism] doesn't motivate me. It hurts me. I can guarantee you that I am better than most players in terms of fitness. I can write it down. More than age, I think the criteria should be fitness and performance. Age is just a number," he added.

The whole Qualifier 2 clash between Rangpur and Barishal was tipped as a battle between Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan. The differences between both players emerged, after Tamim retired from the ODI format before the 2023 World Cup. However, he took back his retirement after meeting Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and later decided to step down from the ODI captaincy.

Both players were booed by the crowd on several occasions during the match. Mushfiqur stated that both players deserved better and said, "To be honest, if the limelight is on the two players, then the rest of us can relax. They will have their 'war', and we will watch. They are both legends. They have given a lot to Bangladesh cricket. This 'bhua bhua' [a form of booing in Bengali] chant, if they have to hear it, the rest of us should be buried in the ground."

Fortune Barishal will take on the Comilla Victorians in the final of the BPL on Friday at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium. (ANI)

 
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