Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza ended speculation about his future by saying on Monday that this summer’s World Cup in England and Wales will ‘surely’ be the last for Bangladesh’s inspirational leader.
In the last official press conference before the Tigers depart for Ireland on May 1 for a triangular series that will lead into the World Cup starting on May 30, the 35-year-old pacer was asked about this probably being his last World Cup.
“It is not a matter of probably; for sure this is my last World Cup,” Bangladesh’s leading ODI wicket-taker told a packed media room at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
Mashrafe has had a bright, yet stop-start, career for Bangladesh since making his debut in 2001.He has had seven knee operations and only became a regular face in the national lineup since 2014 – when he started his second stint of captaincy. The period since 2014 has been Bangladesh’s most successful, with the Tigers making a maiden World Cup quarterfinal in 2015, a maiden Champions Trophy semifinal in 2017, as well as home ODI series wins over India, South Africa, Pakistan and West Indies.
Mashrafe was elected to parliament in last year’s national elections and although he said it would be his last World Cup, he was unwilling to let that place any extra pressure on him.
“There is no reason for that to make me take any extra preparations,” said Narail’s Member of Parliament. “That is an extra pressure. I will try to perform as a player and as a captain. That is important.
“Nothing is impossible, but it will be very important for us to handle the ups and downs.”
With a different format for this year’s World Cup – 10 teams playing each other once before the semifinals – ups and downs there will be many, and Bangladesh will need the inspirational Mashrafe at his best in his last hurrah to manage that.