India veteran Dinesh Karthik admits to being in awe of Mushfiqur Rahim as the Bangladesh star became the first player to score 5000 Test runs for his country.
Mushfiqur made his Test debut for Bangladesh way back in 2005, and on Wednesday became the first player from his country to score more than 5000 runs against the red ball on day three of the Test against Sri Lanka in Chattogram.
On the latest episode of The ICC Review, Karthik spoke fondly of Mushfiqur and how much the experienced wicketkeeper-batter has produced throughout his glittering career.
“For any batter, scoring 5000 Test runs is a fantastic achievement and what he has achieved is phenomenal,” Karthik said of Mushfiqur on The ICC Review.
“Whenever you are a flag bearer or a torchbearer or doing something first, you are always looked up to and revered and that is definitely the case with Mushfiqur Rahim.
“A lot of youngsters try and emulate him in that part of the world and really enjoy him as a player. He has been very consistent and has scored in Bangladesh and outside Bangladesh as well. He has led the country for a long time and has got a lot of credentials to hold up in good stead over a period of time, so I think he can be very proud of himself.”
While Mushfiqur plays purely as a batter at Test level these days, he spent much of his career juggling captaincy and wicketkeeping duties as Bangladesh developed as a cricketing nation. Only India great MS Dhoni has played more Tests than Mushfiqur while captaining their side from behind the stumps, and Karthik had plenty of sympathy for the Bangladesh veteran.
“When you play for a period of 17 years, especially as a wicketkeeper-batter, it can take a massive toll on your body,” Karthik said. “He must know his body very well, otherwise it is very hard to keep playing at the international level for so long. When you go through his record in the game and compare it to other captains, I don’t think it will stand out at any point in time, but for Bangladesh I think he has done really well. “He has led 34 Tests and won seven and it is a country that picked up Test cricket a little later and (at the start) to win a Test match for them was a big deal. “They are getting better at Test cricket and Mushfiqur’s tenure as captain has helped the way Test cricket is played in Bangladesh and a lot of credit must go to him.”
And while Karthik knows a thing or two about playing in sweltering conditions having been brought up in Chennai, the India veteran said the heat in Bangladesh can often be another level up to what he is used to.
“Bangladesh heat is something else,” Karthik noted. “The sun in Bangladesh can be rather harsh at times and playing Test cricket with those long hot days sometimes when you don’t get wickets ... it can be a really, really long day.
“I am sure he has seen a few of them and being a keeper, I know exactly how it feels. “I remember we played a Test against them in 2007 and I had cramps all over my body ... it completely sapped me, sapped my energy and I was literally about to be admitted into the hospital. “So full credit to Mushfiqur as he has done a phenomenal job and for a wicketkeeper it is a lot of hard work.”