Mashrafe Bin Mortaza had boldly stated prior the Asia Cup final against India that he was not so cheap that he would judge himself by a trophy.
That trophy has eluded the Tigers once again following India's thrilling last-ball win on Friday in the Asia Cup final at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Even with all the limitations and one setback after another, Mashrafe was so close to achieving the much-desired glory for the country but ultimately, he could not put his hands on the trophy. However, we must echo sentiments of Bangladesh's ODI skipper that there is no way we can judge the brave-hearted cricketer or his brigade by their failure to break the trophy jinx.
Sporting achievements are often measured by numbers and that is precisely why it will be difficult to analyse Mashrafe's true contribution in the region's biggest cricket competition.
"The boys should feel proud," responded the Bangladesh skipper after his team's three-wicket defeat in the final. "I think they did a good job without two key members. Missing Shakib [Al Hasan] and Tamim [Iqbal] was a big blow but I think boys have done a really good job," he continued.
Mashrafe had every reason to praise his charges. But we must thank the brave-hearted Tigers leader for the way he inspired his boys to overcome all the chaos. And it looked like he put the 'fear limits you and your vision' mantra to the ears of his charges.
If it all started by encouraging Tamim Iqbal to return to the crease at the fall of Bangladesh's ninth wicket in the 47th over against Sri Lanka in the opening match to accompany centurion Mushfiqur Rahim -- who almost single-handedly guided the side to a fighting 261 with his highest ODI score of 144 -- then it ended with the startling motion that saw him inspire opener Liton Das from the dressing room by thumping his chest.
Mashrafe effortlessly carried the burden of expectations throughout the tournament.
The young cricketers' failure to meet expectations has become the centre of discussion in recent times but this Asia Cup at least provided some hope thanks to this charismatic leader who tried his best to bring the best out of Liton, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Mohammad Mithun and even a proven performer like Mushfiqur Rahim didn't hesitate to praise the Mash-impact in their performance.
It was actually a bowling effort that Bangladesh can be proud of as they seemed out of the game on numerous occasions. However, the bowlers brought them back into the contention thanks to their never-say-die attitude. And it was no exception in the final battle against India.
There were not many who believed that Bangladesh could take the game to the last ball after they managed only 222 runs despite Liton and Miraz's brilliant 120-run opening stand. Mashrafe however once again proved that he was not a man who would give up on the job before showing any fight and he rightly credited his bowlers for putting up that fight.
"I hope we won a lot of hearts," Mashrafe said.
But a true champion could not stop here and that was why he said: "The positives depend on the individuals. I think losing to India twice was something that I didn't desire. When Shakib and Tamim are back, the team will do well in the future if we can hold on to this spirit."
Yes, it was the spirit that Mashrafe injected most among his charges to win the hearts and in future that spirit will help fulfil their ambitions. Still, when Mashrafe said that "we have lot of work to do" it means a lot for future success.