'Let the critics say whatever they like'
The Tigers have 160 million or more followers; they have got the same number of critics and as many advisors. This is something the Tigers' inspirational captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza is well aware of. But if he or his team were to take notice of all those critics and advisors, it would have been a recipe for disaster.
After the magnificent turnaround in the second one-day international against South Africa in Mirpur on Sunday, when they beat the visitors by seven wickets, the Bangladesh team is now confronted with huge outcry in the social media -- where everybody is calling for the head of opener Tamim Iqbal.
The crime the dashing left-hander committed in an otherwise perfect performance was that he threw away his wicket by attempting a down-the-track shot early in the chase of 163.
But when Mashrafe's attention was drawn on Tamim's expensive shot and the subsequent outcry, the Bangladesh captain appeared very annoyed and primarily refused to make any comment. But then what he said can be best described as an outburst.
"I don't feel like talking about such trivial subject. One or two bad performances doesn't make a batsman bad overnight. I think this kind of talk will not help our cricket, let alone a cricketer. It must be stopped," said the Bangladesh one-day captain acidly yesterday.
"We are not going to produce a cricketer like Tamim every now and then. I agree that he played a bad shot [on Sunday] and you can criticise him for that. But that should be a cricketing criticism instead of a personal one. It was a good opportunity for him to play a good knock [on Sunday] but he could not avail that. But it's totally rubbish to dismiss any player after he played one or two bad knocks," Mashrafe observed.
Mashrafe has been a success story for the Tigers in the shorter version ever since took over from Mushfiqur Rahim before the Zimbabwe series in November last year. Under his stewardship, Bangladesh have played 19 matches so far and won 14 out of them, a statistics that any captain in the world will envy.
But going into the third and deciding one-dayer in Chittagong on Wednesday, Mashrafe, who is better known for a straight-forward approach and honesty, said that he was not too excited like the others about winning the series against the Proteas.
"We had a near perfect game against them [South Africa] in the second match. But that doesn't mean we have become a big team and just go out there and blow your opponents away. They are one of the best in the world.
"Our focus should be to play our best cricket. We have bowled and fielded well and we should continue doing so. We may not be that clinical in bowling in our next game and this is something our batsmen should take note of and live up to that challenge," said the Tigers skipper, whose bowlers bowled South Africa out for 162, a lowest against Bangladesh, in the second ODI in Mirpur.