Mashrafe off to IPL | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 03, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 03, 2009

Mashrafe off to IPL

SIX-LAKH DOLLAR MAN: Cricket superstar Mashrafe Bin Mortaza arrives at the Zia International Airport to leave for India yesterday. He left for Kolkata to play for the Shah Rukh Khan-owned Knight Riders in the upcoming Indian Premier League.Photo: STAR

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Mashrafe Bin Mortaza flew off to the whirlwind world of the Indian Premier League (IPL) last evening to officially put pen to paper for Kolkata Knight Riders franchise.
The Bangladesh vice-captain will first arrive in Kolkata and then go off to Mumbai to shoot a commercial for Pepsi to promote the upcoming Twenty20 World Championships in England. He will return to the West Bengal capital soon after and leave for South Africa with captain Sourav Ganguly and other players and team officials.
It is, however, not clear when exactly Mashrafe will sign for the Kolkata side, which has already left for Cape Town where they open their IPL campaign on April 19 against the Deccan Chargers.
The Narail Express has claimed that he is 'pretty much' in the fit list and is raring to go. "I am fit and just have to acclimatise myself with the team and then I cannot wait to have a go," said Mashrafe yesterday.
But the fast bowler is fully aware of what awaits him in South Africa. While the conditions have traditionally favoured fast bowling, the wickets would be heavily stacked in the batsmen's favour with the added advantage of short boundaries. But Mashrafe knows the conditions quite well after having toured the country only last year.
"In South African conditions I believe I can do well. It will be the beginning of winter there so I expect the ball to do a little under lights but then again I think that the wickets are going to be batting-friendly.
"Because so much money is involved there is hardly a chance for them to prepare bowler-friendly wickets but as long as I can bowl the right line and length I should be doing well," said Mashrafe who added that he won't mull on previous difficulties in South Africa.
Mashrafe, who was bided in the auctions for six million dollars at Goa in February this year, will join the likes of Sourav Ganguly, Murali Karthik, Ajit Agarkar, Australian Brad Hodge and South African Charl Langeveldt in the KKR camp.
Other prominent international players like Ishant Sharma, Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle, Ricky Ponting and David Hussey are currently on international duty with the national teams and are expected to join the camp at a later date.
"I think Chris (Gayle) will be in England while Ricky (Ponting) and David (Hussey) will be in UAE playing against Pakistan. Of course they are big players and very important too and yes they will be missed but we have good back up players and we are a pretty balanced side so it should not be a problem. The captain, coach and management would have everything planned accordingly so that their absence don't affect us," said Mashrafe who added that he is looking forward to a successful time in the competition despite the side having an ordinary first tournament.
"We are a good team and we know that all the players want to win and are hungry for success. We have experienced guys like dada, Agarkar, Karthik, Hodge while we have youth in Sharma and Angelo Mathews and we also have (Ajantha) Mendis who is a potent weapon. So its a good side and we will definitely start the tournament with the title in mind," added Mashrafe.
The Knight Riders, who were involved in controversy for the past week with their coach John Buchanan's multi-captain theory, have reverted back to keeping Ganguly as the sole captain.
Mashrafe believes that there are enough wise men in the team to keep things under control.
"Actually he is a very renowned coach and there are really renowned players playing for the KKR and dada himself has been such a great captain so when we get on the field that is when we will understand whether it will pay rich dividends or affect us adversely.
"Currently, not being on the field with the team is a little difficult for me to say how it all is going to work out in the field. But Buchanan is a great coach, we all know he has been hugely successful with the Australian team so I'm sure he will be going all out to help all of us and make us win," added Mashrafe.
Meanwhile, Tigers captain Mohammad Ashraful, who will play for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, will leave the capital for Mumbai on April 5 to join his squad.

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