'Am I a thief? Why should I be ashamed?'
There has been a lot of speculation regarding Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's captaincy and his place in the team, especially after he led Bangladesh to an eighth place finish in the World Cup last year.
Mashrafe, who missed the Sri Lanka tour in July last year, returned to lead the Tigers in the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe, which is set to begin tomorrow in Sylhet.
The 36-year-old, who scalped only a solitary wicket in the World Cup, has not been in good form in the recent past.
However, while Mashrafe is open to criticism regarding his poor performance, he did not want any questions to arise about his sense of self-respect.
"Self respect, [what do I have] to be ashamed of? Do I steal on the ground? Am I a thief? I actually cannot relate things like 'self-respect' or 'being ashamed' with playing cricket. There are people who steal and cheat; aren't they ashamed of what they are doing? Only I have to feel ashamed if I do not get wickets in a game? Am I a thief?," said Mashrafe after he was asked whether he feels ashamed that he could not perform well in the World Cup during the pre-match press conference in Sylhet today.
"I might not get wickets and then all of you [media personnel] and also my fans can criticise and talk about it. But why would I have to be ashamed of it? Am I not playing for Bangladesh? Or am I playing for any other country that I must be ashamed of my performance? If I cannot perform then they can drop me -- it is that simple," concluded Mashrafe.