The manner in which Bangladesh limited-overs captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza announced his retirement from Twenty20 Internationals has come as a shock to many followers.
The 33-year-old cricketer said the two-match T20 series against Sri Lanka would be his last at the toss interview of the first game in Colombo on Tuesday evening.
On his official Facebook page, he wrote the decision came because he wanted to make way for youngsters in the team.
But before travelling to Sri Lanka for the limited-overs series Mashrafe had shared his hopes and ambitions in the shortest format in an interview with bdnews24.com.
He said he wanted to build a strong T20 foundation for the team, similar to their current standards in ODIs, before signing off.
So it is quite reasonable for some to be shocked by Tuesday’s abrupt announcement of retirement.
Several sources inside BCB gave an idea of what was happening behind the scenes.
A while ago head coach Chandika Hathurusingha told BCB officials that he felt the team could do without Mashrafe, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim in 20-over games. His thoughts begin to take effect with Mashrafe quitting.
Mashrafe’s dreams of consolidating Bangladesh in T20s took a blow after he flew to Sri Lanka around mid-March.
The top BCB officials asked him to ‘think about his T20 career’. What they actually meant leaves little room for imagination.
Pressure mounted on Mashrafe and carried over into the ODI series. Mashrafe led the team in the three-match series and told those close to him that he will keep fighting, will keep playing T20s.
But at the end of the one-day series the coach asked the officials to speak to Mashrafe again.
A number of BCB sources confirmed bdnews24.com that board chief Nazmul Hassan spoke to the four senior cricketers of the team on Monday night. Hassan wanted three different captains for each format.
Mashrafe’s vision of the future cleared up. He told people close to him that the will to keep fighting died at that moment.
The strapping pacer, who plays wearing braces to protect his knees, consulted his family and made up his mind on Tuesday afternoon that the series against the Lankans will be his last in the format.
Word of Mashrafe retiring from T20s also came into headlines during Bangladesh’s last New Zealand tour. With the team in New Zealand, the board chief declared to news media at home that Mashrafe would not be playing T20s anymore.
The announcement created much confusion, also surprised Mashrafe. Hassan later altered his declaration.
This time around, however, Mashrafe was able to announce his retirement by himself.