Mushfiqur rues Shakib loss, but hopes he returns better

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Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim is disappointed not to have Shakib Al Hasan available for the tour of South Africa, but hopes he returns stronger from his hiatus.

Shakib had his request for a six-month break from Tests accepted by the Bangladesh Cricket Board, also placing him out of contention for the series against West Indies and Sri Lanka.

Not having the ICC's top-ranked all-rounder in the squad for the matches against the Proteas is a blow for the improving Tigers, but Mushfiqur is hopeful it proves a benefit in the long term.

"The absence of Shakib will be a big loss for us. In his place, we have to play an extra batsman and bowler in the team," the skipper told a media conference prior to Bangladesh's departure for South Africa.

"But it's not the first time we will be playing without him. We beat West Indies in one-day internationals [in 2012] and whitewashed New Zealand [in a 2013 ODI series] without him.

"So, of course, we will miss him but it will be a test for the rest of the players to show that we can play well even without the best all-rounder in the world. I hope after the break he will come back stronger."

Bangladesh drew 1-1 away in Sri Lanka before holding Australia to the same score on home soil this month, and Mushfiqur is keen to continue building on some strong results.

"It will be not easy to play there as all the teams struggle there, but we are hopeful that this time we will do well compared to our last tour in South Africa," he said, referencing their 2-0 defeat in 2008.

"We are now a more balanced and improved team. If we can set our skills and execute it perfectly then surely as a team we will perform well."