Usually a calm and diplomatic figure of Bangladesh cricket, Mashrafe Mortaza hardly shows his anger or emotions in public places and if it is a press conference, he is famed for dealing with harsh questions with a cool head.
Those who cover Mashrafe’s official press conference are used to watching Mashrafe making fun, pulling pranks and even joking with the junior journalists while keeping everyone laughing.But that was not the case when he addressed a press conference ahead of Bangladesh’s crucial match against England at Cardiff. A journalist questioned Mashrafe’s fielding tactics during the match against New Zealand in which Bangladesh narrowly lost by 2 wickets.
Requiring 23 runs off 33 balls, with just 3 wickets at hand, New Zealand quelled the tension to some extent when Mitchell Santner edged Mohammad Saifuddin for a four. If there was any slip, Bangladesh could have got Santner long before he held the nerve to sign off the match with a thrilling victory.
When Tigers were required to be attacking against Kiwis, no slip in the place meant Mashrafe was defensive in his strategy.
The journalist in question reminded Mashrafe this issue and wanted to know how he would deal with England with such sort of defensive approach especially when the hosts love to play all-out cricket.
The question seemed not to bode well with Mashrafe as he responded harshly, which was unusual. “England’s defense will be offense with the way they played the cricket. If you observe their cricket, you will see they play with attacking mindset even in critical state and they always want to take the score past from 350-400 runs. We also discussed about it and know their mantra is: attack is the best defense,” Mashrafe said.
The answer looked okay till then but later he lengthened his reply in an unusual manner.“But in case of losing, I don’t know which will be defense or which will be offense for you. You people seemed to analyse the game better than us. When to attack and when to defend, you know better than us. When we lost the game, you changed the type of your question always,” told Mashrafe.
“But yes, for your information, we were never defensive in the match against New Zealand. We sometimes had five fielders in the circle. When we need to attack, we attacked. At the end, it depends on the bowlers that what type of field set he wants. I have to set the fielding keeping everything in mind. When Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson were playing well, we tried our best, Shakib Al Hasan was bowling with mid-on and mid-off covered. I think you should analyse the whole match. No need to talk after just watching the result of the match,” concluded Mashrafe.