Happy birthday, captain!
Exactly when did Bangladesh’s cricket change? Some may talk about Bangladesh’s historic win over Australia back in 2005. Some may also mention Bangladesh’s unprecedented success in the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbeans. But most of the people will definitely say that it’s since the 2015 World Cup. And 2015 was the year when Bangladesh finally came of age in the game of cricket. [আরও পড়ুন: মাশরাফির জন্মদিনে টুইটার প্রতিক্রিয়া]
But when we discuss the word ‘change’, no wonder it must be a long process that can not come overnight. Quite naturally, in Bangladesh’s case as well, it was a long time in the making for the Tigers to slowly but steadily marching towards glory. And we can specifically choose a date that stands head and shoulders of others.
It is November 8, 2001. What happened that day? Bangladesh played an ODI match and got themselves bowled out for just 107 runs. Still at the end of the day, there were something for the Bangladeshi spectators to cheer about. On their way to a comfortable run chase, at one point did Zimbabwe lose two wickets for just 20 runs. Those two wickets were picked up by Manjurul Islam Rana. Yet, there was another guy who was responsible for bring smile to the Bangladeshis.
The guy we are talking about is Bangladesh’s ODI captain today, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza. Standing at just 18 years old that day, his sheer pace and control over the cricket ball not only made the Zimbabwean batsmen’s stay at the crease shaky and uncertain, but also amazed just about everyone. So much so that one former captain was simply wondering, how on earth can a Bangladeshi pacer make the batsmen struggle this way!
That was just the beginning of a story that still remains to see its climax. 17 years in the making, and today Mashrafe is not only the source of our smile and happiness. He is also the reason we can cry, we can be passionate about our cricket team, and we can also dream big. So big that when we nowadays talk about winning the next World Cup, we seem to be ambitious, yet not laughing stock.
Today, Mashrafe is our Captain Fantastic. He is the greatest Bangladesh captain of all time. He is the man who leads our team to all the success, and also doesn’t shy away when it comes about protecting the younger fellows and taking responsibility of the failures on his own shoulder. He is at the receiving end of endless criticism all the time, even from his own countrymen. But still, there’s hardly any other Bangladeshi, not only from cricket but from every other sector, who can match the recipient of love and affection Mashrafe is.
The Narail Express, who has already been ‘forced’ to retire from the national T20 side, and also has not played a Test match for Bangladesh for last 9 years, has certainly reached the business end of his career. But still he is expected to lead Bangladesh at least until the next World Cup to be held in 2019 in England and Wales. It would be a great shame, if a legend of Mashrafe’s caliber bids goodbye to the game without any international trophy to his kitty.
But who knows, maybe the Cricket God has something extraordinary in store for our captain. Maybe he will sign off from the game lifting the World Cup, unarguably the ultimate glory one can think of. That means today, October 05, 2018, may very well be the last birthday of Mashrafe’s life without an international. Next year, we wish it will be blessed with fulfillment.
Happy 35th birthday, captain!
ICC shares a memorable performance of Mashrafe on their twitter
Captain. Leader. Legend. 👊
Happy birthday to 🇧🇩 skipper Mashrafe Mortaza! pic.twitter.com/Dr2TNgF7Dh
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) October 5, 2018