The journey of skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza has come to an end with the completion of ODI series. As he left to play T20Is abruptly several months ago, Mashrafe has now, nothing to ponder over in the days to come in the rest of this tour.
Looking back to his career, the career of his captaincy, the ups and downs, the ever inspirational captain impressioned the current situation is the ‘toughest one.”
While talking to one of the leading dailies here in Bangladesh, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza disclosed why he is an ultimate people’s choice not only among fans but also among common ones, near and far.
“Look, I never inflict anything upon anyone which he/she doesn’t like. I want to make a ‘comfort zone’ for everyone and I practice this culture from my family to the playing field. And as a captain, you have to run your own style. Trying to change anything might turn into artificiality. At a time, people easily find out that you are trying to do differently.”
He also said, “When I was chosen to lead the team, I decided to perform the duty like the way I can. Before the series against Zimbabwe, I firmly believed we could win. Then what about afterwards? There were World Cup, series against teams like India, Pakistan and South Africa.”
“At that time, if I looked beyond all those series, it has not been certainly possible for me to stay as the captain of Bangladesh. Because if I lost those series, I would certainly not been in the position or might had been removed. So all I wanted was to proceed match by match and series by series.”
When Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was asked whether he can foresee someone capable to lead Bangladesh in the future terms, Tigers’ limited over captain said, “Leading the team for three long years, I have realized someone has to be patient enough if he would be the captain of Bangladesh team.”
“Because everyone in the surrounding is impatient. And the game is such if good results start to pour, the level of expectation rise tremendously. On the other hand, the amount of criticism if you can’t perform well. The captain of the side must be patient enough to deal with all of these phenomenon,” he said.
The fact that has been submerged under the success of captaincy is that Mashrafe is the highest wicket taker in one day international for Bangladesh after he was appointed as the captain.
The skipper said, “It’s not a matter that people are not talking about my performance as a bowler. The prominent matter for me is whether my team is proceeding in the right way or not because this is the main task for me as a captain.”
“The thought of being appreciated as a bowler never crossed my mind. I think this is rather good because I don’t really know the answer. Besides, this is also true that I have received enormous fondness from general people. I can never deny that,” he said.
Mashrafe left the spot of new ball bowler to young gun Mustafizur Rahman; how difficult was that decision for him?
He said, “In fact it was the toughest decision of all. Morally I decided to end my career leaving the new ball. But I did that. Because I think Mustafizur gets the ability to take wickets with the new ball. It worked out. Mustafizur claimed the wicket of Rohit Sharma very early in the innings in several occasions and as a captain, that is my achievement. Lately, I think I was honest to leave the new ball bowling.”
Saying about the worst and best time of his captaincy, Mashrafe said, “The worst is the time through which we are now going. The team is in losing streak in South Africa. Earlier in New Zealand, although we lost matches, we could play up to some extent of our potentials.”
“But here in South Africa, we have not been able to do that. On the other hand, the time is quite thrilling to me. There would be great relief and peace if we will be able to come out of this time once. Nobody could realize that in good time,” he further said.
“Another frustrating time was losing the series against England, being defeated by Afghanistan in the first ODI, and never thought of losing those matches actually. To say about the good memories, there are many. Thrashing India, Pakistan and South Africa at home, registering a place in the quarter final of the World Cup and then to the Semifinal of the Champions Trophy,” Mashrafe reminisced.
In his captaincy career, which decisions conveyed enough satisfaction? Mashrafe said, “There are many. Two decisions in the third ODI against South Africa in Chittagong. I changed myself from bowling to bring Shakib into the attack despite conceding only 10 runs in two overs and Shakib picked up the wicket of du Plessis in his second over.”
“In a later part of that match, there were no reasons to bring Mahmudullah into bowling; but it crossed my mind Mahmudullah might produce a breakthrough for me at that moment and he claimed the wicket of Kyle Russhew. Another satisfying decision is to bring Mosaddek into bowling in the 42nd over of the match against New Zealand. Mosaddek plucked 3 wickets in 13 then,” Mashrafe added.
Bangladesh limited over skipper also said he splits bowling and captaincy during field action; “When I bowl, I forget that I’m the skipper. These things are easy to done but hard to do. I’m absolutely lucky that I can do that. When I sit around, I usually think about two aspects of me – the one is bowling and other is captaincy. I have to think separately about these.”
Mashrafe said about the satisfaction when someone performed well after including under the influence of captaincy, “That might happen in case of Mahmudullah in the second ODI against South Africa. Everyone was suspicious about the inclusion because he took lot of time from a broken finger.”
“He said he could play and I trusted him. I was pleased when Riyad scored 50 runs along with taking the wicket of Miller,” the captain said.
The most successful ODI captain of Bangladesh reckoned the absence of injury during the period of captaincy as a matter of luck.
“It’s not only about cricket, my life of 35 years have been fluctuating upon luck. I realized that first when I survived falling from the Cornish of a three storied building when I was a student of class five. I found a chunk of stone beside me after falling down; I would definitely die if I fell on that. I started thinking the entire life, living and death is moving upon luck. Cricket is mere a game.”
Does he ever think of playing ODI for the team leaving captaincy? Mashrafe said, “Very difficult to say that. Sometimes I think, let’s play quitting captaincy, then leave the matter and think let’s keep things going how it is going.”
“My primary goal has become successful. I wanted to win eighty percent matches at home as a team and we have done that. Now our target is to win matches outside the country. This challenge is bigger and needs time to accomplish,” Mashrafe said.
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza said winning a global title cannot be the standard of success for any captain, “I don’t think winning a global title would mark a team or a captain as successful or best one. If that is so, South Africa cannot be regarded as a best team.”
“I want to build a really good team who can perform well both at home and away without targeting a global tournament. Bangladesh have been doing well in its soil, now the challenge is to start winning outside as well,” the skipper added.
Courtesy: Kaler Kontho