Saturday, November 25, 2017

Mashrafe left T20I captaincy, not the format, says BCB president

  • Sports Correspondent
    Published: 2017-04-07 23:58:32 BdST


Mashrafe Bin Mortaza has announced his retirement from Twenty20 International in front of millions of fans, written about it on his official Facebook page, but BCB President Nazmul Hassan insists that he has not signed off from the format.

Having provided Mashrafe a delightful T20I swansong by outclassing Sri Lanka on Thursday to level the series 1-1, the Tigers returned to the country on Friday.

Hassan had, however, made similar claims in Colombo before the second 20-over game. He reiterated it on Friday.

“I keep repeating the same thing, Mashrafe has not yet left T20s. We have not yet told Mashrafe that he is not in the T20 squad. He stepped down from captaincy,” Hassan said on his return.

“We [want] three captains, one for each format. I’ve said that a long time ago. He’ll play if he is fit. But if he does not want to play when we need him, will we let him go?”

Mashrafe's retirement  from the shortest format took his fans and followers by surprise, something the Bangladesh Cricket Board cannot find a reason for.

“Apart from Bangladesh, no-one saw any news about who stepped down from T20 captaincy [from other teams]. I’m seeing this only in Bangladesh. Other countries talk about one-day, Tests, not T20s,” the board chief added.

He, however, believes Mashrafe feeling down about this is quite justified.

“Because he is a player. Not just a player, he has been leading the team. Besides, retirement from the game can be depressing, it’s not unnatural. I would feel the same.”

Hassan claims when Mashrafe was handed the leadership, he was unlikely to break into the team.

“When he was made captain for the T20 and one-day teams, he was not even in the squad. He was then recovering from an injury.

“There was obviously something special in consideration when he was made [captain]. He successfully completed the role, we are also very proud of him for that," added Hassan in a bizarre assertion.

The strapping pacer was Bangladesh’s second highest wicket-taker in the series against the West Indies before he was handed captaincy. He had also bowled brilliantly against India in the series before that.

The year 2014 was disastrous for Bangladesh cricket. The team had been through their worst losing streak in three years with the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand approaching.

Mashrafe was put at the helm in November to salvage fortunes. The pacer, who plays wearing braces to protect his knees, later said in interviews that he was not mentally prepared for the challenging task.

But he stayed focussed on the team’s needs and heeded his father’s advice to take over.