Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza has enjoyed a good ODI tri-series in Ireland so far, making his mark in both the side’s victories with six wickets. His leadership has seen Bangladesh notch two comfortable wins over West Indies and secure their place in the series final. However, the Tigers’ captain was not in the best of shapes heading into the series, therefore, today’s match against Ireland is a good opportunity to rest the player.
Mashrafe was the one who started the rot for the Windies when they were going strong in the first match -- after Shakib Al Hasan and Mehedi Hasan provided crucial breakthroughs -- by picking up the wickets of Roston Chase, Shai Hope and Jason Holder after bringing himself on in the 41st over
In the second match, he reserved his overs for the death and took the responsibility of keeping West Indies on a leash. Having provided an early breakthrough, he picked up two more wickets with his contributions proving to be significant.
His leadership skills often overshadow his bowling triumphs but during the second game he picked up a nice record, becoming the fourth-highest ODI wicket-taking captain alongside Pakistan’s Waqar Younis. Mashrafe has claimed 97 wickets from 75 matches as captain and there could have been many more if his career was not plagued by injuries.
With the ICC Cricket World Cup coming up, the Tigers will need Mashrafe for his leadership and for his mentality. However, his contributions with the ball should not be overlooked by the team management. The Ireland game -- being a dead rubber -- presents a good opportunity for Mashrafe to be rested. The Tigers have backup pace options and since Bangladesh have never won a tri-series in their history, the final should be prioritised.
With the World Cup coming up too, it’s time for everyone to take note and reserve the best of their prized fighter’s hard grind for the coveted tournament.