Important to use Mustafizur carefully ahead of World Cup: Courtney Walsh
Mustafizur Rahman bowls under the watchful eyes of Courtney Walsh. (AFP Image)

Courtney Walsh, the Bangladesh bowling coach, feels there is no need for Mustafizur Rahman to be rushed back and that the left-arm pacer be given enough time to recover from his ankle injury. For Mustafizur to be fully fit ahead of the World Cup, Walsh suggested that the fast bowler be used judiciously during the tri-series in Ireland next month, which also features England.

Barring Mustafizur, Bangladesh are also dealing with injury concerns to Rubel Hossain and Abu Jayed.

“[Mustafizur] has got a big role to play in the World Cup, once he is fit,” Walsh said. “But I don’t think we rely on any one player. Shakib [Al Hasan], Mash [Mashrafe Mortaza] and Rubel have been consistent. Fizz hasn’t been as sharp since his injury, and he keeps picking up slight niggles. A fully fit Mustafizur can win games for you but we have to have him as fit as possible. We have a bit of time on our side. My concern is that I hope we don’t over-rush him, and probably use him too much in Ireland, and he is not fresh for the World Cup.

“Out of the five we have three injured – Fizz, Rubel and Saifuddin, who has the tennis elbow. We need to get them back into bowling, within the right frame of mind, and be sharp enough to do a bit of bowling in Ireland and be ready for the World Cup. We have Taskin Ahmed, Khaled Ahmed and Shafiul Islam as well [for back-up]. You can probably say that we have them just in case we need them.”

With the World Cup taking place in England, Walsh believes the conditions will pose a stiff challenge for his bowlers, who will have to perform out of their skins to ensure good results for Bangladesh.

“It will be a big challenge. The World Cup is going to be long tournament,” Walsh said. “There are going to be some good cricket wickets, which are batting-friendly. We have to be intelligent, and try to execute well.

“We have to read the conditions and the surfaces we play. Some places the ball might swing more than others. We have to assess when we get there. Most of the wickets will be docile and flat. We have to work on our variations and execution. Everybody studies one another these days, so they know our strengths and weaknesses. Likewise, we also know theirs. So it is about execution on the day, and try to be smart.”

Besides the importance of Mustafizur, Walsh was also high on word for Mohammad Saifuddin. The allrounder, in 10 ODIs so far, has shown plenty of promise and because of his high potential, Wash remains hopeful of Saifuddin making an impact.

“He has come along tremendously. He has bowled very well,” Walsh said. “He is a very excitable allrounder. His form in the domestic tournament has been very good. His confidence is quite good. He is keen to do what he is doing. If we can get him fully fit with the tennis elbow being solved, it will be a big plus for us as well.”