In a historic achievement for Bangladesh cricket, 20-year-old fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman became on Wednesday the first player from Bangladesh ever named to the International Cricket Council ODI Team of the year, when the ICC announced its Team of the Year selections on Wednesday.
Mustafizur Rahman currently plays for the Dhaka Dynamites in the Bangladesh Premier League T20 franchise tournament.
The award for the Bangladesh prodigy caps an extraordinary year for cricket in Bangladesh, highlighted by ODI series victories over India, Pakistan, and South Africa. But perhaps the highlight of the year came in March when Bangladesh for the first time ever qualified for the quarterfinals of the ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia, scoring a stunning victory over England to clinch advancement out of the group stage.
Mustafizur was not yet part of the Bangladesh national team during the World Cup. But at age 19, the native of the southwest Bangladesh Satkhira region made his ODI debut on June 18 against India — making an immediate impact with a remarkable five-wicket haul, allowing 50 runs.
And as if that performance wasn’t enough of a historic accomplishment, three days later Mustafiz took another six wickets for just 43 in the second ODI against visiting India, at Shere Bangla National Stadium. With the two incredible outings, Mustafizur became the first bowler to claim 11 wickets in his first two ODI matches.
Watch highlights of the historic back-to-back innings in Mustafizur Rahman’s first two ODI performances in the video below.
Mustafizur said he was on the field at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong, preparing for Wednesday’s Dhaka Dynamites match against the Comilla Victorians in the Bangladesh Premier League when he heard about the honor from the ICC.
“My team manager first gave me the news,” Mustafiz told the Dhaka Tribune newspaper. “I was on the field at that moment, every one was congratulating me. I felt really good after hearing the news, because I am the first from my country.”
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The now-20-year-old was named to the team after playing just six ODI matches that fell within the period of qualification for the ICC honor. Mustafizur has now played a total of nine ODI innings in his so-far brief career, taking 26 wickets with an economy rate of just 4.26.
In the six matches counted by the ICC in their selection process for Team of the Year, Mustafizur took 18 wickets with an average of 12.61.
But speaking on Wednesday, the smiling but shy Mustafizur said that he was not overly impressed by receiving such a monumental honor while barely out of his teenage years, after just the first six matches of his ODO career.
“What I achieved in how short a time is not how I think. I have always thought of playing well since being given the chance.” Mustafizur said. “I am always focussed [sic] on bowling well, doing something for the country.”
The youthful left-armer was one of four pace bowlers named to the ICC Team of the Year, along with Mitchell Starc of World Cup Champion Australia, India’s Mohammed Shami, and Trent Boult of New Zealand.
A.B. de Villiers of South Africa was designated captain of the ICC Team of the Year.
Mustafizur grew up about 25 miles outside of Satkhira town, which itself is about 140 miles southwest of the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka. When his family recognized his crickets talents, his older brother began taking him to Satkhira by bike daily.
“I didn’t even know Satkhira properly when my brother used to take me there every morning at seven,” Mustafizur said in June, after his ODI debut — game in which he was named Man of the Match.
Mustafizur Rahman next plays for the Dhaka Dynamites against the Rangpur Riders on December 6 when the Bangladesh Premier League returns to Dhaka for the concluding run of the tournament.
[Featured Photo By A.M. Had / Associated Press]