Mushfiqur to play as specialist batsman vs Sri Lanka

Indo Asian News Service

Dhaka, March 2 (IANS) Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim was on Thursday relieved of his wicketkeeping role for the upcoming two-Test cricket rubber against Sri Lanka, but will continue to play in the side as a specialist batsman, team manager Khaled Mahmud confirmed.

Mushfiqur will now be replaced by the other specialist stumper Liton Das, who last played in the longest format in 2015, against India and South Africa.

"The coach (Chandika Hathurusingha) and I have informed Mushfiqur officially (that he will play only as a batsman)," Mahmud was quoted as saying by Bangladesh daily Prothom Alo.

"He is the best batsman in the team. He is in such form that we believe he will be able to give more to the team, which is why he will bat at No. 4 and will not be keeping wickets. Mushfiqur has taken the decision positively, which is the best part," he added.

Mushfiqur's glovework came under the scanner during Bangladesh's recent Test match against India, when the diminutive stumper missed the stumping of his opposite number Wriddhiman Saha, which prompted the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) to have a relook at their strategy.

"We gave him examples of Kumar Sangakkara and Brendan Taylor whose batting improved as soon as they gave up wicketkeeping in Tests. It is hard to play as wicketkeeper, captain and batsman," Mahmud explained.

With Mushfiqur now slated to bat at No. 4 and Liton being confirmed a place in the side, the team management will now have to decide between Mahmudullah and Sabbir Rahman in the middle order.

Bangladesh will play two Tests against hosts Sri Lanka, with the first match starting on March 7 at the Galle International Stadium while the second match will be played from March 15 at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo.

--IANS

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