Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was in one of his usual nonchalant moods when he arrived for a press conference yesterday to field questions regarding the team’s upcoming tour of Sri Lanka. It was the last day of training for the players with the team set to board a flight for Sri Lanka today and when the day began, no one would have predicted the grim turn of events that came after the press conference as the ODI skipper was ruled out of the Sri Lanka series following an injury he suffered during a net bowling session.
The Bangladesh players were undergoing a relaxed training session when Mashrafe walked into the press conference with the likes of Tamim Iqbal, Mustafizur Rahman and Co. engrossed in a keepie-uppie session.
There were questions about Mashrafe’s fitness throughout the World Cup and it was only natural that he had to field questions about his fitness from the beginning of the press conference.
“I have practiced for two days now without any problems. I am hoping that everything is well,” Mashrafe reiterated.
He answered questions about his retirement plans and the team’s focus and planning for the upcoming series in Sri Lanka, slated to begin from July 26. The skipper undertook those questions with his natural charisma while maintaining that he had the focus to bounce back after dismal World Cup performances.
It was in the evening following the press conference that news began to surface that Mashrafe had suffered an injury during a net session. He had niggling injuries even prior to the World Cup but it did not affect his ability to play for the Tigers. During the net session, he pulled a hamstring -- an injury that is familiar to the speedster -- and was subsequently ruled out of the Sri Lanka series.
Later Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) chief selector Minhajul Abedin confirmed that all-rounder Forhad Reza, who was in Chattogram participating in a one-day series against the Afghanistan A team, was included in the 14-member squad as Mashrafe’s replacement.
“He pulled his hamstring during training today. We are yet to receive the medical report but at the moment it looks difficult for him to play in the series. We have decided to include Forhad Reza as his replacement,” chief selector Minhajul Abedin told The Daily Star yesterday.
A BCB media release later confirmed that Mashrafe sustained a Grade-1 injury.
“He received an immediate MSK ultrasound examination which revealed a Grade-1 injury. It is a recurring injury that could take around three to four weeks to recover. Therefore, he was ruled out from participation in sporting activities for a month,” BCB chief physician Debashish Chowdhury was quoted as saying in the BCB release.
Later yesterday, the management decided that Tamim Iqbal would captain the side for the tour. With Shakib Al Hasan allowed a break for the tour’s duration, the loss of the skipper will come as a big blow for the Tigers. Since becoming Bangladesh captain back in 2014, this is the first series he will miss through injury. To make matters worse, late yesterday, Mohammad Saifuddin was also ruled out with a lower back injury with fast bowler Taskin Ahmed replacing him in the squad.