After Dhaka Platoon lost their Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League game against Rangpur Rangers by 11 runs yesterday, skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza had to answer many questions, not just about the game but also about a few burning issues regarding the national team. The Bangladesh ODI skipper’s replies hinted at a level of dissatisfaction with Bangladesh Cricket Board officials and selectors, who he said had not discussed his future in the national team with him. He also offered his observations on Mustafizur Rahman and Bangladesh’s upcoming tour of Pakistan. The following are excerpts of the press conference:
On whether he would go to Pakistan if he were playing Tests or T20Is
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (MBM): To be honest, I would have gone but obviously I would have consulted with my family. I don’t know what my family would have said as this is the first time I am discussing this matter. But if you ask just me about going Pakistan, I would say yes, I would go, but not sure as it depends on my family too. But that doesn’t mean that those who do not want to go are at fault as obviously, life comes before the game. So, it’s important that the individual makes the call and with due respect, everyone is right from their own perspective.
On his much-talked about retirement issue and the idea he was not retiring due to ego
MBM: I don’t have such ego and when it comes to my retirement everyone has already made me retire. I haven’t decided yet whether I will retire, but if such a situation arise and the BCB thinks so, I might think about it. I have never given such priority to myself that everyone will give me a big, elaborate farewell at the ground.
On whether he would continue if he is given the opportunity to play for the national team
MBM:It depends on the selection, as I would expect that I won’t be picked in the side after taking just one wicket in eight matches in the World Cup. To be honest it depends on the selectors and if they think that they will give me the opportunity then I will try my best. But at the moment how can I say, after picking only one wicket in eight games, that I will get a chance in the national team. If there was someone else in my place, he may have been dropped much before.
On his selection for the Sri Lanka series after the World Cup
MBM:Yes, I was in the Sri Lanka series as there was a chance for me to make a comeback and then there was a gap. Shakib was also not there in the Sri Lanka series so I might have had a chance. But after that I was not in the game as I don’t know what the selectors are thinking about me as I didn’t have any discussions with them. They spoke to other players but I had no discussion. If the ODIs come and if they think I should play then obviously I will be there as at the end of the day cricket is everything for me. The rest depends on the selectors, board and the captain, which I am, but that too depends on their decision.
On nurturing Mustafizur Rahman..
MBM:If we continue to criticise Mustafizur… it’s a different case for the media and spectators, but my question is when I have the responsibility for a player’s improvement, why would I criticise him in front of the media? It’s my duty to protect him as even if we have half a Mustafizur in Bangladesh, it’s fine. Show me one half of Mustafizur in Bangladesh? There’s none, so who is trying to prepare Mustafizur, who has picked 21 wickets in the World Cup? There might be questions over his economy rate but how can we improve this? There is always a way to improve it as there are a lot of players in world cricket who managed to make a comeback after suffering from poor form, but why isn’t it happening in our country? Because those who are working with Mustafizur are talking in the same tone as you guys, so where is the individual thought to improve him. The same people who criticised Mustafizur are working with him the next day. When I am working with Mustafizur and being and at the same time criticising him, the question arises that what work have you done to improve him.
On whether Mustafizur’s treatment is similar to his
MBM:No, there is a problem here too. What happened with me is behind closed doors and with Mustafizur it is in front of you, those who are talking to the media about him.
On whether there is a gap between him and the other players, as he was not informed about the players’ strike
MBM: You haven’t come to the dressing room (smiles). If you don’t come to the dressing room, how would you know? There is no question about a gap with the players as they are my family.