Bangladesh Cricket Board President Nazmul Hassan has dismissed questions about Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s future in the team as irrelevant, saying the ODI skipper can play for as long as he wants.
At a press conference after Bangladesh lost to India in the semifinals of the Champions Trophy, Mashrafe said he was still enjoying playing cricket and would like to keep playing for now.
The board chief later spoke on the matter, saying, preparing new leadership in the team is a continuous process. His comment had triggered controversies.
Last Thursday, Hassan sat with Mashrafe to speak about the issue. A source in the board said there Hassan gave Mashrafe the green light to his future in the team and also asked him to prepare the team for the 2019 World Cup.
The board president cleared the air surrounding the matter by making the content of that private conversation public at a press briefing on Thursday.
“What I said that day is clear. You guys don’t show the whole thing (on TV), you just show parts – it confuses the people,” Hassan said.
“Given the example of India’s MS Dhoni, I was told that Dhoni would not be playing in the 2019 World Cup, so India brought in a new captain. I was asked whether Bangladesh had similar plans.
“I said the idea we have is regarding T20s and we did it with the next World T20 in mind. But that has nothing to do with ODIs.
“There was no discussion about Mashrafe leaving or continuing captaincy. But the publicity is such that it appears Mashrafe is being dropped right now and we are in search of a new captain. But there was no such conversation, no reason to have one.”
Hassan also focussed on how Mashrafe has been leading the Tigers by example.
He said thinking about the future is only a procedure that needs to be followed. The board has left the decision of the future with none other than Mashrafe himself.
“What will happen when Shakib (Al Hasan) is gone, when Mushfiqur (Rahim) is no longer there –- these thoughts will always be there. But acting like we are dropping Mashrafe today makes things uncomfortable for both him and us.
“I am making one thing clear today, as long he (Mashrafe) can play, the question of dropping him is irrelevant. Because he is not only a player, also the captain. It is very difficult to find a skipper like him.”
Mashrafe is the most successful bowler for Bangladesh in ODIs. He is also the most successful bowler since being handed the captaincy for this tenure in 2014.
Also the most consistent performer with the ball for the team in recent times, Mashrafe was the highest wicket-taker for Bangladesh last year.
This year only Mustafizur Rahman, who played a match more, has taken a wicket more than his captain.