‘I could’ve reached a triple-hundred tomorrow’ – Mushfiqur Rahim

Mushfiqur Rahim has admitted that he had his eyes on a maiden triple-century, but was cut short by a surprising declaration against Zimbabwe late on the third afternoon in Mirpur.

Rahim remained unbeaten on 203, his third double-century in Tests and second against Zimbabwe, before Bangladesh took two wickets to put the visitors in further trouble. Part of the reason for the declaration is assumed to be the forecast for rain on the fourth and fifth days, although Rahim said that the plan was different during the tea break.

Rahim, who struck 28 fours in his 318-ball innings that spanned more than seven hours, said that he may have needed till the first session on the fourth day to complete his target.

“I wasn’t aware that we would be declaring today,” he said. “I felt that with two days in hand and by batting more on this wicket, we could have helped deteriorate it further. There wasn’t any discussion about declaration during the tea break, and we only heard thirty minutes before that we want to give Zimbabwe six to eight overs to bat later in the session.

“If we were still batting, it would have been easier for me [to get a triple], had Liton got to his hundred. Perhaps in the first session tomorrow, I could have reached [the triple-century]. I didn’t ask about the decision, but it could be [due to the weather]. But our bowling attack is capable to bowl them out.”

Rahim said that the quality of Zimbabwe’s attack on a good pitch meant that it was the “easiest” of his three double-hundreds, considering Bangladesh batsmen have had to deal with tough wickets both home and abroad over the last four years.

“This double-hundred was on the easiest wicket. They didn’t have much threat in their bowling attack. There was no reverse swing or any outrageous spin by a mystery bowler. I think this was an easier innings compared to the other two.

“It is difficult to play on a rank turner. I think Bangladesh is the only team where the batsmen face tough conditions in overseas matches, as well as at home when they have to play on rank turners. It gets hard to make big scores.

“This time we got a good wicket, so we wanted to make the most of it. In future it may be a different wicket depending on the opposition, but as a batsman I prefer this type of wicket.”

Soon after Bangladesh’s thrashing at the hands of Pakistan in Rawalpindi earlier this month, chief selector Minhajul Abedin had said that Rahim must “prove” himself in domestic cricket if he warranted being picked for the one-off Test against Zimbabwe.

Despite an animated celebration on Monday upon reaching his double-hundred, Rahim insisted he had nothing to prove to his critics.

“[This innings] wasn’t about any pressure release. I made 74 in my last Test innings. I want to make the most contribution for the team. Since it was a good wicket, we planned that a top six batsman should try for a 150 or 200 once he is set. Mominul batted really well too,” he said.

Rahim believes that at this stage of his career, every innings must be highly valued.

“In Bangladesh this is when players are discarded, but definitely in world cricket, this is the time when a player really matures as a bowler and batsman.

“This is the time to return the time a player has invested in his career, and that too consistently. Every innings is vital, and I want to maximise every time I go out to bat. I want to make unbeaten centuries, 150s and 200s, which should help me and the team.”