The Bangladesh Cricket Board's sudden decision to name Mashrafe Bin Mortaza captain for the T20 series against Sri Lanka in Mushfiqur Rahim's absence, which was subsequently followed by Tamim Iqbal's resignation as vice-captain of the side, led many to assume that there was an internal rift in the team.
The scenario became a lot more suspicious after the board had prohibited the players to speak to the media for 48 hours. At the end of the embargo, Mashrafe spoke to the media yesterday and stated that recent events had absolutely no effect on the team.
“There has not been any influence. The reason behind the ban against speaking to the media was because we have plenty of young players in our side. They don't have much experience and we wanted them to concentrate in practice and not get distracted,” said Mashrafe.
When asked if he had a separate chat with Tamim regarding the issue, Mashrafe said, “Honestly speaking I didn't have to speak with him separately, because he is a very professional cricketer and he has played all around the world. He knows the process very well.”
“I want to tell all the fans of Bangladesh that we haven't been concerned at all regarding this issue and there was no friction amongst us. We are united as a team and we are focussed completely on the match tomorrow,” he added.
Mashrafe, who has been named captain for the second time in his career, however admitted that losing Mushfiqur for the series was a big blow.
“He is a key player. As a captain he has led us from the front. When we heard that he would not be playing, we spoke among ourselves and told each other to keep our focus and play as a team. We did so in the past in the absence of key players,” said Mashrafe.
“When I was announced as captain, Tamim was there and so was everyone else and it did not affect us. It's my duty to lead the side now and the likes of Tamim and other senior players are helping me do it,” he added.