Former national ODI skipper Mashrafe Mortaza was certainly smiling though it was not seen because of the mask he was wearing but the movement of his jaws and the blink of eyes expressed everything as he entered Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) Academy premises at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in the capital on Monday.
Unlike the first time he came to the academy premises to start his individual practice on December 1, this time he looked lot more determined to make sure he is totally prepared to take on the load of playing competitive cricket after a gap of eight months.BCB did not include Mashrafe’s name in the draft list as he injured his ankle while playing football ahead of Bangabandhu T20 Cup.
BCB kept a provision for the inclusion of former national hero outside the draft so that he can take part in the competition, subject to his fitness status.
Mashrafe was unsure about his future considering he was out of sight for many days but the way four teams out of the five participating sides showed interest in him only suggests the amount of faith they have in his ability and experience.
Gemcon Khulna was the lucky team to have Mashrafe after they won him in the lottery and it seems he is determined to give it one last shot as time is running out for him to prove his potential and make a claim in the national team ahead of the upcoming home series against West Indies, who are due to arrive in January for three Tests along with three ODIs and two T20Is.
While his teammates where enjoying a break, Mashrafe had an individual training session to make sure that he is fully prepared before joining them in the evening, being cleared after reporting negative for coronavirus.
Mashrafe made sure that he is not hogging the spotlight for all the wrong reasons and decided to practice when there were no teams practicing in the academy premises which indicated that he learnt the lesson from the previous experience when everyone raised question whether he is breaking the bio-bubble as other teams were practicing when he made the first attempt to make a comeback by returning to the cricket field after a long gap.This time round Mashrafe would not have to face similar questions but he was determined to not give anyone a chance to point fingers at him.
He looked totally focused to make sure he bowls to his strength during his training session which lasted for 40 minutes where he bowled 42 deliveries apart from the running session which was held after his bowling session in the nets.
Initially, he bowled an over with a short run-up which looked to be a part of warm-up routine but once that was over, he started bowling in full-run up where he tried all the tricks under his sleeves.
Though his first two deliveries was not up to the mark but from the third ball onwards he looked to have settled down during the spot bowling session and with time he began to get hold of his control that remained one of his major strength at the latter part of his career.
In between bowling, he was also having a close look at his landing considering he is making a comeback after a long gap and in order to do so, he used his mobile to capture the moments and let him know if any adjustments are required in the last moment.
Whether Mashrafe can make a statement or not, will be decided in the coming days in Bangabandhu T20 Cup but for now he is raring to go.