Chief of the national selection panel Minhajul Abedin said they are not aware if Mashrafe is available for the series given there is no information about the cricketer’s match fitness
Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza’s availability for the upcoming ODI series against Zimbabwe has emerged as talking point in the cricket fraternity, and the decision on whether to include the country’s most successful ODI captain is giving the national selectors quite a dilemma.
Chief of the national selection panel Minhajul Abedin said they are not aware if Mashrafe is available for the series given there is no information about the cricketer’s match fitness.
While the majority of the national cricketers have been busy playing matches in Pakistan and in the Bangladesh Cricket League at home, Mashrafe has been a regular visitor to Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
Dhaka Tribune understands the Bangladesh Cricket Board and national head coach Russell Domingo is likely to sit with Mashrafe soon in order to determine the future of the cricketer. The BCB’s earlier attempt to resolve the issue was not successful.
Following the lone Test against Zimbabwe at Mirpur starting on February 22, Bangladesh will play three ODIs in Sylhet on March 1, 3 and 6, respectively. It is understood that a section of the national selection panel, including national coaches, have reservations over the inclusion of Mashrafe in the team but are yet to come to a decision.
“We are not sure whether he is available or not [for the Zimbabwe series]. We do not have any information about his fitness and other things, as he has not reported to Julian [Calefato-the national team physio],’’ Bangladesh Cricket Board Chief Selector Minhajul told the media Monday.
“Apart from that, the board will have to announce the captain first because, unless that is announced, we cannot make any comment on the issue of his availability,’’ he added.
The 36-year-old Mashrafe is currently working on his fitness. If not selected for the national team, he will be seen in action during the Dhaka Premier League set to take place in April this year.
“Probably, he will be asked to retire in front of his home crowd by being in the ODI squad against Zimbabwe, and if he is ready to accept it then it is fine. Otherwise, our board President [Nazmul Hasan] is likely to make the final call about him,’’ said a BCB source close to the Mashrafe saga.
Following his differences with former @BCBtigers head coach @CHathurusinghe, Mohammad Salahuddin had kept himself away from national team training in the presence of the coaching staff.https://t.co/Wn6F69d12Z#BCBTIGERS #BCB #TIGERS #BANGLADESHCRICKET #BANGLADESH #CRICKET— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) February 15, 2020
The issue of Mashrafe’s retirement from international cricket has been lingering since the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, due to his below par performance in the tournament. However, the only development since has been the cricketer’s decision to opt out of a BCB central contract, while he has also expressed that he wants to continue playing domestic cricket and that his selection in the national team depends totally on the selection panel.