New Mashrafe Bin Mortaza "Mash", same old approach | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 09, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:14 PM, December 09, 2018

New Mash, same old approach

If you look back, since 2015 we have played with a rhythm. We have played three pacers regularly in the ODIs and at times we have included four pacers in the line-up. So you can't base on the Test side and decide that you have to play like that. I will stick to playing three pacers and I want to play with it, that's confirmed. 

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza

Bangladesh ODI skipper 

When Mashrafe Bin Mortaza walks out to the middle with his troops to play his 200th ODI -- an achievement indeed for a cricketer who virtually needed a miracle to make it this far following one injury after another -- at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today, will all the fans embrace his success and his failures in the same manner as they did before?

This question may sound a bit off-putting but still many were curious about whether a bad spell from the inspirational captain or a defeat would create a negative noise from those who have criticised his venture into politics.

The man in charge however looked fully focused on signing off from his last cricketing mission this year in high spirits and the 35-year-old made it clear during the pre-match press conference yesterday that a good showing in today's first of a three-match series is important to achieve that.

There are reasons to put the home side ahead of the visitors -- their record against the Caribbean outfit, their overall ODI success this year that has seen them win 11 of 17 matches, a growing ability in the 50-over format, the rhythm the players are enjoying after their success in the Test series and, of course, the home advantage.

Despite all of these things, Mashrafe reminded of the 'muscle power' that the opponents possess, their fast bowlers' threat and their ability in shorter version games. He also stressed the need to properly read the mysterious Mirpur in the day-night contest with the dew-factor looming.

"No way can we think about a whitewash when we are yet to start the series. The first match is important. West Indies have muscle power and that is a factor. In this kind of format one or two [players] can change the game and they have some players who can destroy you. We have to be careful of that. The shorter format always suits them," Mashrafe said in an attempt to dilute any over-enthusiasm over a 3-0 whitewash, such as the one the Tigers enjoyed in their last meeting in July-August in the West Indies.

It is always good to keep the hype in control and Mashrafe did that as usual, but many will still believe that the Tigers will be favourites in this series if they can follow their captain's words: "the homework and its hundred percent execution must be in place, then a repeat of an away series success is not a high demand from them."

And, as Mashrafe said, the availability of two stalwarts -- Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal -- came as a relief to the team.

"It is huge advantage that both Shakib and Tamim are in the team. Returning from injuries, Shakib adjusted after the Test series but Tamim may take time despite his extraordinary innings in the practice match. Tamim may get better or worse as everyone needs time when returning from injury," Mashrafe said.

The skipper also gave some indication over his line-up, confirming the presence of three pacers, and when everyone was guessing who would partner Tamim to open the innings from among the three other in-form openers, he hinted that they would all be fielded in different positions.

With everything seemingly in his favour, Mashrafe is now looking to the mantra: 'All's well that ends well.'

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