Mustafizur Rahman’s family watched him intently from all over Bangladesh - his sister and cousins watched him from the Shere Bangla Stadium, his father and a couple of his brothers watched from his Tetulia village, and his eldest brother and mother from Khulna. At a newspaper office in Dhaka, one of his uncles watched with cheering colleagues. They celebrated every time he picked up wickets, some times even calling each other and celebrating his wickets on the phone.
Mustafizur followed up his five-for on debut with a six-wicket haul on Sunday, becoming only the second bowler after Zimbabwe’s Brian Vitori to take five-fors in their first two ODIs. He took one more wicket than Vitori when he dismissed Ravindra Jadeja just after the long rain break, giving himself a unique place in history by getting 11 wickets.
After Mustafizur had taken 5 for 50 in the first game, there were suggestions that India would read him better in the second. After all, all five wickets fell to offcutters. Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha had said Mustafizur would have to be on his A-game now that the world has seen a bit of his variation.
On Sunday, however, Mustafizur brought out some of his other skills. Unlike in the first game, Mustafizur took a wicket in his first spell when he got Rohit Sharma with the angle he created. The second spell remained similar. He first got Raina to edge a cutter that bounced to the wicketkeeper, and MS Dhoni, with whom he had collided in the first game, was also sucked in by his slower delivery. Dhoni got out in the last over of the batting Powerplay, giving Bangladesh the advantage heading into the last 10 overs.
What Mustafizur did next set his bowling in the second game apart from the first game. He surprised Axar Patel with a straight, quick delivery that struck him right in front. In the 42nd over, he got R Ashwin to edge behind with another offcutter. After the two-hour rain break, he came back and stung Jadeja with a full ball, quicker one again. He had completed a six-wicket haul, doing what he knows best, but the look of surprise on his face was the expression of someone who wasn’t expecting such results.
All this time, his family kept calling each other. They wished they could have been together, watching him bowl in an international match against India, in front of a TV set without any power cuts. But they had to make do with wishing each other from long distances.
According to his uncle Shariful Islam, deputy chief reporter of the Daily Star, the family members tried their best to be in front of a TV. There was a power cut before the presentation ceremony in the first match, and his brother in Khulna called up Sharif to ask what Mustafizur was saying after winning the Man-of-the-match award.
“We were not sure whether he would be playing the first game but when we heard that he got selected in the XI, we were anxious how he would do,” Shariful said. “When he was selected in the 14-man ODI squad, my brother who lives in Ohio promised to gift him an iPhone if he took three wickets. After he took the five-for in the first game, he immediately bought the phone and is now trying to find someone to send it to Dhaka.”
When Mustafizur couldn’t get to play for a club in Dhaka, it was his brothers and uncles who communicated with the right people to get him a place or a trial in the pace foundation. Mustafizur, according to them, is grateful to have the full support of his family.