Bangladesh bowling spearhead Mustafizur Rahman's availability for the upcoming India tour is uncertain owing to his ankle injury. Bangladesh will tour India for three-match T20I series followed by two Tests next month.
The skillful bowler will be playing the National Cricket League (NCL) to gauge his fitness level and try to convince the chief selector Minhajul Abedin that he is good to go for the challenging tour.
Mustafizur, who adored Mohammad Amir in the early days of his career and has a somewhat similar action to his idol, couldn't play the first round of NCL - the major first-class tournament - but he is itching to get back on the field and convince the selectors to make the cut for the all-important India tour.
Regarding Mustafizur's injury and progress in his recovery, chief selector Abedin said: "He will have to prove his fitness in the NCL game to be considered for the upcoming Test series against India. The physio had given us some guidelines. He was supposed to play from the very first match. However, because he has some minor problems with his ankle, he was not able to take the full load, and therefore was unable to play the first match."
According to Abedin, Mustafizur cannot bowl more than 15 overs per day currently. "He is in the recovery phase now. We have to assess how many overs he can bowl. I have been given a guideline that he cannot bowl more than 15 overs in the upcoming match, and so we will consider that and subsequently assess his fitness during the four-day games," he added.
The second round of NCL starts today and for Mustafizur, it holds immense significance as it leaves only about two weeks for him to get ready for the India series, which will commence with the T20I on 3rd November.
Abedin, however, is going to take the team management's input on his selection and won't make the decision in isolation.
"This is completely the decision of the team management. We don't work in the field. There is a fitness trainer, bowling coach, who will judge whether he can bowl in back-to-back matches and how many overs he can bowl." Abedin opined.
Bangladesh cricket team has been crippled by many injury woes in the recent past and the management is in a bit of a quandary.
"We were really concerned about our pace bowlers because right now, there are many players who are unavailable due to injury. If I make a list of ten players, then five of them will be on the injury list." Abedin added.
Contingency plans have been mulled over for better management of fast bowlers at the domestic level in Bangladesh.
"Our pace bowlers are always criticised for their fitness levels. Now, however, the way we are prioritising our fitness from the first-class level, I think we will get the results in two years. If you don't have good fitness, it is really tough to bowl in two innings,” Abedin said.