June 25 (Reuters) - When Mahendra Singh Dhoni collided with Mustafizur Rahman during the first one-dayer against Bangladesh, the incident appeared to serve as a metaphor for the teenage paceman’s ability to block India’s path throughout the series.
Few fast bowlers have had a more sensational debut than the 19-year-old left-armer, who picked up 13 wickets in the 2-1 victory to tie the record for the most dismissals in a three-match series with Australia’s Ryan Harris.
Mustafizur’s five-wicket haul on debut will have eased the pain of the heavy collision with Dhoni, which also cost the young bowler half of his match fee while the India skipper lost 75 percent of his earnings.
But for a Bangladesh side known more for relying on a spin attack, unearthing a fast bowler who can run through the opposition with his pace and control will feel like a priceless gift from the gods.
Mustafizur followed up his dream debut with a six-for in his second appearance as Bangladesh scored a famous first ODI series triumph against the two-time 50-over world champions.
The young paceman ran in smoothly and extracted good bounce off the batting-friendly surface at Mirpur and his off-cutters, delivered with no discernible change of action, completely outfoxed the vaunted India order.
Mustafizur dismissed opener Rohit Sharma, the only batsman with two double hundreds in one-day international history, and Suresh Raina on all three occasions during the series.
His 11 wickets in his first two matches broke Zimbabwean seamer Brian Vitori’s record of 10 victims as he sent shivers down the spine of the touring batsmen, who seemed clueless on how best to tackle him.
“If there isn’t a counter as such, I mean what can we do? Can we kidnap him?” India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin told reporters ahead of the final match of the series on Wednesday.
“No, we have to come out there and play some good and solid cricket and try and make sure we nullify him. He does bowl a good cutter, which is something we have to watch out for.
“He is a good bowler, you cannot deny what he has done or take the respect away from him. I am also happy for him but I think the challenge starts here.”
Mustafizur managed two more wickets in the series finale but the respect from the opposing batsmen was evident as he easily outshone the more experienced visiting pacemen, who struggled for line and length.
Bangladesh bowling coach Heath Streak said the team needed to be supportive in their management of the teenager to get the best out of him.
“I think that’s where as a coach you have to be careful not to over-coach and just help guide them along,” former Zimbabwe fast bowler Streak said. “Some people need more coaching than others. We have to be careful how we manage him.
“He is still very young. He has shown his potential. If we look after him and support him, he will be a big match-winner for us.” (Editing by John O’Brien)