Over 40 years of age. He last played in the country’s jersey almost four years ago. Mashrafe Bin Mortuza is leading the Sylhet Strikers in the ongoing BPL despite a lack of fitness. Sylhet played two matches under him and lost both. The former Bangladesh captain was not successful personally.
Despite getting 1 wicket in the first match, he bowled 2.3 overs and spent 25 runs. He did not bowl in the second match today against Rangpur Riders. He was not successful with the bat either. He was run out by 6 runs from 7 balls. After the low-scoring 4-wicket loss to the Raiders, Mashrafe’s continued playing was questioned at the press conference. The Sylhet captain said that everything is not explained.
However, whether or not a player plays in a franchise tournament is entirely the decision of the franchise. It is no longer the national party that will raise public questions here. But the discussion can be!
In response to the question whether it would have been better if someone else played instead of Mashrafe in the press conference today, the Sylhet captain said, ‘I said so. All things cannot always be explained. Of course I think it (my performance and fitness) is not an ideal situation. Who would have played better is another matter. It’s a team thing. It was seen that he can play another person without playing him. That’s a different thing. The team will not discuss with anyone about who would have played better. But what you say should be the ideal situation.’
Mashrafe explained with the ideal situation, those who will perform, should play in the team. But against the Raiders today Sylhet has crashed in batting. He managed to score only 120 runs after playing the entire 20 overs. Sylhet has tasted defeat in two consecutive matches in Dhaka. At the end of the Dhaka phase, they will play the match at the ‘home’ ground.
In response to the question whether he will get additional benefits in Sylhet, Mashrafe said, “Home ground does not matter.” But yes, I hope to get a lot of support from the audience there. But T20 is a game of momentum. As long as the team does not win, there will be no improvement. So winning is very important.’
Mashrafe blamed the batsmen’s failure more than the wickets for the low-scoring match in Mirpur, ‘First of all the batsmen batted badly. Those who have given wickets may have batted with some premeditation (in terms of shots). If 2/3 wickets fall early, it becomes difficult for the next batsman. Those of us who were foreigners, as far as we know, played good pace ball. But the opponent has a spin attack.’
Regarding the character of the wicket, the Sylhet captain said, ‘But the wicket was certainly not ideal. Daytime wickets aren’t ideal, that’s right. But it was not worse than other days. Got sunshine today, the wicket was a bit better. But we needed to adapt and play a little bit. We could not actually do this work of adaptation.’
Although he bowled in the first match, Mashrafe did not take the ball today. The old knee pain is back. But even then Mashrafe said that he continues to play because of love, ‘That’s for sure. I continue to play because of love. Everything is fine with me. Only the knee is the problem. Which was very good, but is suffering now.’