We want Mash back in T20s: Hassan

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza in Asia cup 2018
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza. Photo: Star File

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan came out with his now customary post-debacle revelations today when speaking at his BEXIMCO office in Dhanmondi. The BCB boss, speaking in the aftermath of home losses in all three formats to Sri Lanka, intimated that ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was supposedly persuaded to return to the T20I side for the tour-concluding two-match series against Sri Lanka.

"Mashrafe was asked to play the T20 series, but the matter did not roll further because he wanted to make a comeback to the Test side," Hassan said.

The 34-year-old Mashrafe retired from T20I cricket in April last year in Sri Lanka, and it was then understood that he was persuaded into the decision by the powers that be which included the board president and then coach Chandika Hathurusingha, both of whom wanted the shortest format to be an avenue to blood youngsters.

The fast bowler from Narail last played a Test against West Indies at Kingstown in July 2009, since which time the repeated operations on his troublesome knees was thought to have ruled him out of the grind of the longest version of the game.

The 2-0 loss in the T20Is to Sri Lanka, which followed a 1-0 defeat in the two-Test series and a final defeat in the ODI tri-series, however seems to have brought about a change of heart in Hassan regarding Mashrafe's T20I prospects.

"We will also ask him to return for the Nidahas Trophy next month [a T20I tri-series that will also involve hosts Sri Lanka and India]," revealed Hassan. "But it is up to him. I hope that he will agree to it if I make the request."

Bangladesh's grim results this year came after former coach Hathurusingha quit his post midway through a disastrous tour of South Africa in October-September last year. While planning for the ODI tri-series and the subsequent bilateral series against Sri Lanka, Hassan had said in early January that in the absence of Hathurusingha's replacement, the senior players would act as coach.

"The players themselves said that they could take on the role of a coach," Hassan said. "But now I see that they cannot be given that liberty.

"I couldn't even know about the team until 3:00pm on the day of the second T20I [On Sunday]," Hassan added. "It seemed confused, and they couldn't make it work."

Hassan also added that though the work was continuing to find a new head coach, it is unlikely that the position will be filled before the Nidahas Trophy which gets underway in Colombo on March 6.