Mash back in action

Sports Correspondent

2 December, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Mash back in action

Former national skipper Mashrafe Mortaza sprints during a training session at the academy premises of the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in the capital on Tuesday. – BCB Photo

Former national skipper Mashrafe Mortaza’s career as a cricketer appears to be numbered but he certainly is not going to give up before giving it one last try to give a fitting answer all his critics.

The arrival of Tigers’ most inspiration captain at Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) Academy premises remained the highlight of the day as he hogged all the spotlight despite the fact that two teams participating in the ongoing Bangabandhu T20 Cup were preparing for their respective matches in the competition on Wednesday.

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 as according to BCB officials, the former national skipper can be roped in by any interested teams outside the draft and can take part in the ongoing competition.

Whether Mashrafe will be picked by any team is not yet confirmed but it seems that 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 Test along with three ODIs and two T20Is.

Earlier, Mashrafe did not take part in BCB President’s Cup which was held before the ongoing T20 tournament as he contracted coronavirus back then. Later, he suffered an ankle injury while playing football at City Club which ruled him out of the initial part of the ongoing competition, though he seems to have other plans in his mind.

Mashrafe had a busy day in the academy premises where completed a four-over spell in full run-up apart from doing several drills but his body suggested that he is still far from his best in terms of fitness.

BCB trainer Tushar Kanti Hawlader, who was supervising Mashrafe during the individual training session, admitted the fact that Mashrafe might be overweight but added that everything depends on the experienced campaigner and his plans on how he wants to manage his career.

“He is practicing on his own and now he wants to reduce his weight so I am trying to help him. It is too early to say whether he is match-fit or not but the way he is practicing, it will not take time for him to regain his fitness,” said Tushar.

“I am not sure about his exact weight but probably it is around 84 kilogram and he is expecting to drop some 10 kilograms,” he said.

“Fitness depends on him and he is a different man in this regard and can do many things. If he wants to play he will play because if he feels he can manage these four overs with this fitness, he can play,” he said.

Meanwhile, BCB officials said that Mashrafe apologised for breaking the bio-bubble which is in place in the ongoing Bangabandhu T20 Cup.

Many raised questions whether he put the players in danger considering he is not part of the bio-bubble. Still his arrival created lot of noise as the former national skipper returned to the field after a gap of eight months.

Mashrafe last played a competitive match in Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League which came to an abrupt halt in March due to coronavirus pandemic.

“Actually it was an unintentional mistake (breaking the bio-bubble and getting into the academy premises) by Mashrafe and he is sorry for that,” BCB chief physician Debashish Chowdhury told reporters on Tuesday.

“We will make sure that he doesn’t repeat this mistake in future but he at the same time, we have to acknowledge that he did not go close to the cricketers and maintained six-feet distance and taking that into consideration, I don’t think he had put anyone at risk,” he said.

“Actually he was supposed to practice in the indoors all alone but somehow due to miscommunication went to academy premises instead where other cricketers were training,” he said.