Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal (C) will be looking to get some runs under his belt, after having missed the last few matches due to a strain in his neck, when Bangladesh take on the UAE in a warm-up T20 match at Fatullah today. PHOTO: STAR
Bangladesh pacer Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, who is running a race against time to get fit for the ICC World T20, yesterday exuded confidence regarding his fitness and said that he would do whatever it takes to play the mega event.
The bowler, who is one of the three pacers in Bangladesh's 15-man squad for the World Cup, suffered from a side-strain during the Asia Cup, which raised doubts regarding his participation.
Chief Selector Faruque Ahmed stated that they would take a call on the pacer after a fitness test on March 13.
Mashrafe, who bowled ten overs in the last three days during practice as per his rehab, however, told reporters that he was confident of playing all the matches.
“It's not just the T20 World Cup. When it comes to playing for Bangladesh, I'll play even if the extent of the risk is 100 per cent. But yes, the T20 World Cup has plenty of expectations and I have a desire as well. I want to play them all,” said the brave-heart from Narail.
“I am feeling a lot better than before. The pain has decreased considerably as compared to the first day when I got hurt. Mentally, I am getting ready to play whenever the team needs me to,” added the 30-year-old.
While Mashrafe is no longer vulnerable when it comes to his knees, courtesy of the immense amount of weight that he has lost in the last few months, the side-strain was an unexpected turn of event. It's an aspect that has compelled the BCB Physio to rule him out of Bangladesh's first warm-up game against UAE today, although Mashrafe feels that he can play.
“I will obviously play if they want me to,” remarked the bowler yesterday.
The bowler further said that he had dearly missed playing the Asia Cup.
“I believe that those who don the Bangladesh jersey always feel a special pride. I missed it,” said Mashrafee.
Mashrafe, who went through a slightly similar experience prior to the 2011 World Cup when an injury during the Dhaka Premier League led to him being ruled out, is desperate to avoid a repeat.
“Honestly speaking, missing out the 2011 World Cup felt really bad. It was a bigger World Cup. T20 has no similarity to the 50 over World Cup. But this time it's taking place on our soil and there would be plenty of expectations from 16 crore people. If I play, I will play my best. I will give in my 100 per cent,” said an emotional Mashrafe.
While Mashrafe's level of commitment no doubt sets an example for any cricketer in the country, his constant uncertainty however, also tends to pose problems for the team management when it comes to planning. If Mashrafe does get the green signal from the BCB's physio, then that should ideally mean that the latter is confident that the player can play every match in the competition. However, going by the bowler's records, an uninterrupted participation is something that no one would want to comfortably predict.