• Tuesday, Feb 25, 2020
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Mashrafe’s retirement issue shrouded in mystery

  • Published at 09:47 pm January 13th, 2020
Dhaka Platoon's Mashrafe bin Mortaza bowls during their BBPL match against Chattogram Challengers in Mirpur Monday Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

Mashrafe's below par performance, with just one wicket in eight matches, and also that of the team in finishing eighth in the 10-nation tournament had sparked speculation over the retirement of the 36-year old talisman

The future of Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza in international cricket has been a hot topic among the cricketing fraternity since the ICC Cricket World Cup last year. 

His below par performance, with just one wicket in eight matches, and also that of the team in finishing eighth in the 10-nation tournament had sparked speculation over the retirement of the 36-year old talisman. 

However, a definitive answer on the matter is yet to be delivered either by Mashrafe or the decision makers on the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). Many are of the opinion that the issue has now turned into a passing game and Mashrafe should be bold in taking a decision.

Mashrafe’s decision to not be part of the BCB central contract list anymore is the latest incident that brought the issue into focus. BCB President Nazmul Hasan, following a BCB meeting on Sunday, said the experienced Bangladesh pacer has opted out of of the central contract scheme to make way for younger cricketers to take his place. 

The BCB boss, however, was not certain on whether it is time for Bangladesh’s most successful ODI captain to call it a day and put it on the cricketer to decide.

Every time Mashrafe is asked about the issue, he would pass it to the board and national selectors to decide. In one of the press conferences in the ongoing Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League, Mashrafe had even mentioned continuing his ODI career in the upcoming series, provided he is selected. Yesterday, he mentioned quitting as the Bangladesh ODI captain “if the people concerned thinks it is necessary.”

Mashrafe Monday told the media: “There is nothing to be done if I am not selected. I always said that I want to continue playing, but that is not centering the national team. I will play any cricket that comes to me. My selection in the national team can be decided by the people concerned.

“I think I have got this much freedom that I want to continue playing. I will not come to a decision by force. There are many players in Bangladesh who did not retire from the field, many players that have been bigger than me. It is a rare case,” he added.

All-rounder Mahmudullah has been a close colleague of Mashrafe in the national team dressing room. As per Mahmudullah, a decision should come from Mashrafe when he thinks it is right.

“First of all, I think this is totally Mashrafe bhai’s decision. I spoke once or twice with him regarding this but I cannot say anything without his consent. When we started playing cricket, we played the game because we loved it. Now, it has become my profession. But I never planned to be a [professional] cricketer from the beginning. I loved the game and that’s why I played it and then I became a cricketer. As I did not start playing after consulting with someone, so I am not an advocate of quitting the game just because someone told me to,” Mahmudullah said Monday.

“When I feel like that I cannot continue playing further, then I will stop, as this is my personal matter. I should be liable for this. I see this [retirement] in this way. I think Mashrafe bhai too thinks like this as he has been playing cricket for a long time,” the senior Bangladeshi player further said. 

In an effort to understand the factor behind Mashrafe’s selection in the national team, Dhaka Tribune reached to Chief of the national selection panel Minhajul Abedin. 

“We are not thinking of him at the moment as we have Tests and T2OIs to deal with right now. Mashrafe is one of the biggest players we have got, a player from the hall of fame. We can think over him when we have ODIs,” Minjajul said.