Bangladesh wicketkeeper-batter Mushfiqur Rahim. COURTESY
Bangladesh wicketkeeper-batter Mushfiqur Rahim has announced his retirement from T20Is to "focus on Test and ODI formats of the game". He made the announcement in a post on his official Facebook page on Sunday. His decision comes soon after Bangladesh's exit from the ongoing Asia Cup, where they lost both first-round games to Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
"Today, I am announcing my retirement from T20 Internationals," Mushfiqur, 35, wrote. "I will proudly continue to represent Bangladesh in Test and ODI formats. I am hopeful that I can bring success for our nation in these two formats. I will continue to take part in Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) and other franchise tournaments."
Mushfiqur's scores of 4 and 1, and a crucial dropped catch of Kusal Mendis against Sri Lanka, brought back the spotlight on his place in the T20I team. Given his poor form in the format, the BCB was reportedly prepared to drop Mushfiqur from Bangladesh's T20 World Cup plans. The Bangladesh contingent will be leaving later this month to play in a T20 tri-series against New Zealand and Pakistan in New Zealand, with the same squad expected to be announced for the T20 World Cup in Australia next month.
Mushfiqur has endured a poor run of form in T20Is for nearly three years now, having scored only two half-centuries since November 2019. At last year's T20 World Cup, he made 144 runs in eight innings, at a strike rate of 113.38. He was "rested" for the T20I series against Pakistan that followed. However, he had claimed that he was dropped, after which he was summoned to a meeting by the BCB.
He then played a single T20I against Afghanistan before skipping the West Indies tour for personal reasons. He was rested again for the T20Is against Zimbabwe in July, before being picked for the Asia Cup. Mushfiqur's wicketkeeping has also come under criticism in recent times.
However, he has been a consistent performer in both Tests and ODIs. During the same period of his T20I decline (since November 2019), Mushfiqur has averaged 54.81 in 15 Tests, scoring three centuries including a double-hundred. He has always remained an ODI mainstay, averaging 42.12 in 20 matches. Mushfiqur becomes the second player from Bangladesh to recently retire from the shortest format, with Tamim Iqbal having retired in July.
Teammates react to Mushfiqur’s T20I retirement
Bangladesh cricketers flooded social media with messages and wishes for wicketkeeper-batter Mushfiqur Rahim, who announced his retirement from T20Is through a Facebook post on Sunday.
Mahmudullah Riyad, whose T20 career is also under the scanner following a prolonged lean patch in the format which continued till the Asia Cup that Bangladesh exited without a single win, left the most heartfelt message for his long-time compatriot. He mentioned that Mushfiqur's announcement came as a piece of 'heartbreaking' news to the all-rounder.
"Dear Mushfiq, for me it's heartbreaking when I heard your announcement," Riyad wrote from his official Facebook account.
"But well done on your T20I achievements & career. It was a pleasure to play T20I's with you. Your work ethics will always be inspirational in any format. #Respect," added Riyad.
Meanwhile, Nurul Hasan Sohan, who has been the first-choice wicketkeeper in the shortest format lately, said it was an inspiration to have played alongside someone like Mushfiqur.
"You always have been our inspiration on and off the field. Happy T20I Retirement Mushfiqur Rahim bhai. Best wishes for the coming days," Sohan wrote.
All-rounder Mehedi Hasan Miraz's message was also along the same line.
"My childhood hero, Mushfiqur Rahim bhai, you are a role model and an inspiration to many. We will miss you in the shorter format of cricket. I strongly believe that you have many things to give in other formats. Enjoy whatever new challenges you take on, brother," Miraz wrote on his official Facebook page.
Pacer Taskin Ahmed's message was short but was enough to portray the respect that he has in his heart for Mushfiqur. "Thnx legend from T 20 Mushfiqur Rahim," Taskin wrote.