Blackcaps v Bangladesh: Why Mushfiqur Rahim was given out for handling ball during second test at Mirpur

Bangladesh cricket is not new to controversy.

Only last month, the Tigers were at the epicentre of a World Cup storm, when they had Sri Lanka allrounder Angelo Mathews, struggling with a broken helmet strap, timed out for taking too long to face the first ball of his ill-fated innings in poolplay.

While successful, their appeal was met with howls of protest, questioning its "disgraceful" sportsmanship, with umpire Marais Erasmus twice asking Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan whether he really wished to proceed.

Mushfiqur Rahim handles the ball against the Blackcaps.
Mushfiqur Rahim handles the ball against the Blackcaps. Photo credit: Three Now

He did and Mathews became the first List A batter dismissed in such a manner.

By contrast, their latest contentious incident has passed with a minimum of fuss, with middle order batter Mushfiqur Rahim dismissed for handling the ball against the Blackcaps during the opening day of their second test at Mirpur.

After playing a straightforward defensive shot against seamer Kyle Jamieson, Mushfiqur undid much of the good work he had done to that point by thrusting out a hand to deflect the ball into the ground, drawing an immediate appeal from the New Zealand fielders.

Australian umpires Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker briefly conferred, checking to determine whether the ball was still on the wicket when handled, before giving the batter out for "obstructing the field".

In the commentary box, even former Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal admitted 'Mushy' was in trouble.

Until that act, Mushfiqur had resurrected an innings teetering at 47/4, putting on 57 runs with Shahadat Hossain to drag the home team into triple figures, and would finish as their topscorer with a modest 35 runs.

"It probably wasn't a great option, because he was looking so good," said Blackcaps allrounder Mitch Santer. "It was handy for us.

"The time he and 'Dipu' applied themselves, that was a very good partnership for them and going into tomorrow, if we can get some little partnerships like that...

"It will be a scrap this whole test match and little partnerships like that will be massive."

In 2017, the ballhandling rule was changed to align it with obstruction.

"The striker is out obstructing the field if, except in the circumstances of 37.2, in the act of receiving a ball delivered by the bowler, he/she wilfully strikes the ball with a hand not holding the bat," says ICC regulations.

"This will apply whether it is the first strike or a second or subsequent strike. The act of receiving the ball shall extend both to playing at the ball and to striking the ball more than once in defence of his/her wicket."

While Mishfiqur becomes just the seventh test batsman dismissed in this manner, the practice is relatively commonplace in training nets, where batters often field their own balls and return to the bowlers.

Musfiqur Rahim in action against the Blackcaps.
Musfiqur Rahim in action against the Blackcaps. Photo credit: Getty Images

"A cricketer who has played over 80 tests should know he can't do that," said Tamim. "Practice habit can make this happen.

"Maybe Mushfiqur did it unconsciously and extended his hands, but this obviously can't be an excuse."

Bangladesh allrounder Mehidy Hasan Miraz agrees.

"It happened in the flow of the game," he said. "A batter has to take a split-second decision while at the crease.

"His hand probably went in the flow of his batting - Musfiq didn't do it intentionally.

"A lot of things happen in the back of your mind during a game."

If New Zealand somehow come back to rescue this test, given how well he was batting, Musfiqur's brain explosion may prove the difference.

Join Newshub at 4:30pm Thursday for live updates of the Blackcaps v Bangladesh second test