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Dhaka Tribune

Leader Mashrafe exhibits Braveheart-esque qualities

Everything depended on the mental set-up of the team. 275 was a fighting total and that’s what the Tigers in Adelaide did, they fought until the game was over.

Update : 06 Sep 2023, 02:48 AM

A leader is said to be good when he knows exactly how to manage the troop individually and take up the responsibility of delivering when the chips are down. Well, this quote goes for leaders across the globe related to all fields but as far as cricket in Bangladesh is concerned, the only name that boils up in my head is Mashrafe bin Mortaza, the nation’s heartthrob and the current Bangladesh cricket team captain. 

The 31-year-old is clearly a strong leader and a quality cricketer who brings his passion and dedication to the table. He is also best at lifting the spirit of the team.

Bangladesh had beaten England, a part of the so-called “Big 3” of cricket that also includes Australia and India, in their World Cup Pool A match in Adelaide yesterday to confirm their first quarterfinal berth in the multinational event and along the way sent the Barmy Army and their cricketers packing.  

The win does not only stand out for the result and individual performances, but the unity and “never-say-die” approach for which much of the credit goes to none other than the “limping” Mashrafe, who literally put his career on the line to achieve the feat.

Mashrafe made his bow in the international arena back in 2001 and since then his rollercoaster ride has seen him suffer multiple career-threatening knee injuries and most importantly, his determination to come back and play.

The braveheart cricketer often terms cricket as “everything” in his life and proved he is not a person who gets easily distracted. After a string of embarrassing losses in 2014, it required great character and attitude to bounce back when Mashrafe was named as the captain, for the second time, last December. 

As expected the Tigers won against Afghanistan and Scotland earlier to plant the big question mark – Can Bangladesh reach the last eight of the World Cup beating a stronger nation?

Hailing from a humble background, Mashrafe has been able to channel his raw energy to his on-field performances and yesterday was simply an example of how he motivates, inspires and leads the Tigers to greater heights.

The equation was simple, whoever wins stay in the World Cup, and Mashrafe last Sunday did term the match as “one of the greatest” they will play. It was a match where the players’ physical and mental ability to play under pressure was to be tested and the captain passed it with distinction.

Everything depended on the mental set-up of the team. 275 was a fighting total and that’s what the Tigers in Adelaide did, they fought until the game was over.

With braces on both knees, Mashrafe hobbled and struggled for most parts of the match as the commentators showed him sympathy from time to time, but that hardly made the Narail Express shy away from keeping his nerves in pressure-cooker situations and deliver the goods at the right moment.

As a captain, Mashrafe is not afraid to go with his “gut factor” in decision making. He also puts immense trust on his group and backs them to deliver which allows them to express themselves freely without the fear of failure. Example: When he was seen encouraging Rubel Hossain after the dismissal of Ian Bell, probably telling his troop that they need one more quick wicket to set the platform. In the same over Rubel bagged English captain Eoin Morgan caught at fine-leg for a duck.

He was never shy of expressing himself in any given situation. To overcome periods of high stress without losing your composure is the key to long-term success. Mashrafe still has lots of cricket left in him but perhaps his knee condition won’t allow him to serve. In any case, may it be the result under his leadership or the fighting spirit, Mashrafe is the best captain to have led Bangladesh thus far.

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