With a dominating 123-run (Duckworth/Lewis method) victory and a 3-0 series sweep over Zimbabwe, Mashrafe finished his illustrious tenure as a captain with 50 ODI wins in 88 matches to set up the perfect send-off
Bangladesh’s most successful ODI captain till date, Mashrafe bin Mortaza walked into the press conference room for one last time as the Tigers’ leader. With a dominating 123-run (Duckworth/Lewis method) victory and a 3-0 series sweep over Zimbabwe, Mashrafe finished his illustrious tenure as a captain with 50 ODI wins in 88 matches to set up the perfect send-off. Below are excerpts from the press meet that lasted for around 20 minutes at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium Friday.
Captain, how are you feeling?
Are you relaxed now?
Obviously one big job is done now. Some people feel good, some feels bad. I am having a mixed feeling. But to be honest, it feels good that I am able to finish at a good stage as a captain. It ended with a win so it feels good.
Your take on Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das’ opening pair in the game Friday?
Even Tamim and Liton know that I always like to watch two batsmen in world cricket, one is Virat Kohli and the other is Liton. There are many players who score a lot of runs in the world but whenever Liton is at the crease it’s a treat to watch and I have said that long ago. I always believe, Liton just staying at the crease is important as he is able to change the momentum, and he can play big knock. I believe he is able to pick that and his game is in his head now as he has gained some experience playing four years in international cricket. The hundred he had scored against India in the final of the Asia Cup, I think it is his natural game. Obviously Tamim scored 7,000 runs in ODIs. Yes, there are talks when you are not playing well but obviously, I feel this is the best we have and there are others too.
Where does captain Mashrafe want to see Bangladesh in this format after you have left them from now onwards?
It is tough to tell at the moment but I feel that Bangladesh will do a lot better in the 2023 World Cup and we will play the semi-final. I have said this previously and whoever lead the side will have the players of now who will reach their peak at that time.
Obviously you are the most successful Bangladesh ODI captain in terms of results but what are the aspects should a true leader needs to have in him?
It actually varies man to man. But the thing is, it is good to have the leadership quality. But to ask for the captaincy is not good as then he becomes selfish and I have seen a lot of players who failed by doing this. But I think even Liton and others should also learn the leadership. So, there is a difference between captaincy and leadership. Although there is not much for a captain to do on the field, there is a lot for a captain in Bangladesh off the field. Players tend to get disturbed in terms of families, personal problems, lack of form, gap in mentality with coaches, fitness issues so there’s a lot of aspects, and it can happen. It’s important for the captain to take the responsibility both on and off the field.
Evaluate your captaincy…
Obviously thanks to the Almighty for the 50th win as a captain as it was never possible without that and this is the main reason. I have never evaluated myself and if I have to tell I would say average and nothing else. I have never seen the captaincy differently.
Did you feel anything different while you were out in the field leading the team Friday?
No, I was concerned of not making mistakes, although, we had a big total. Whenever you call it a day in any aspects then there is always high chance for mistakes as one knows there will be no evaluation after this. I was always trying to do my job.
Under which coach do you think you have enjoyed the most as a captain?
Obviously Bangladesh are an international team and every coach has that ability and if you want me to mention one, I will name Chandika Hathurusingha. Many might think he was the reason I had to quit T20Is but that is not the case. Even Jamie Siddons. He has played a great role as a batting coach behind the success of Shakib [al Hasan], Tamim, Mushfiqur [Rahim] and others. Hathurusingha has taken Bangladesh to a certain stage and as I said before this is not the time for experiment in Bangladesh cricket. It will be important to see where Bangladesh goes after Hathurusingha took the side to a certain stage.
Being the most successful bowler for Bangladesh too, do you wish to retire from cricket on the field?
The hope is there definitely. But as I said before, I don’t think about such things as I was not prepared of what I received [Friday]. Even Sachin Tendulkar retired from the field, what happened was people only talk about it for one day. So, there is nothing special for me.