Mortaza to step down as Bangladesh captain after Zimbabwe ODIs - GulfToday

Mortaza to step down as Bangladesh captain after Zimbabwe ODIs


The decision to rebuild Bangladesh team for the next World Cup had convinced me to step down, avers Mashrafe Mortaza. File / Agence France-Presse

Bangladesh pace bowler Mashrafe Mortaza, one of the country’s biggest sports stars, stepped down on Thursday as captain of the national one-day side, possibly ending his international career.

Friday’s 50-over game against Zimbabwe in Sylhet will be his last as captain, said the 36-year-old, who already has a new career as a member of parliament.

Mashrafe said he would remain available for selection as a player, but selectors are under pressure to bring in fresh blood ahead of the 2023 World Cup in India.

“I would like to thank Bangladesh cricket Board for keeping confidence in me for such a long period,” said Mashrafe.

“I will try to give my best as a player if I get the opportunity.”

Mashrafe had not played any one-day internationals since last year’s World Cup until the current Zimbabwe series. He claimed three wickets in the first two matches.

Bangladesh won both to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

Mashrafe, who withdrew from a lucrative national team contract in January, said the decision to rebuild the team for the next World Cup had convinced him to step down.

“Until yesterday I was undecided, but this morning I thought ‘that’s enough’,” he said.

Mashrafe, who has had seven operations on his knees, acknowledged that he had been lucky to play so long.

The bowler has cult status in Bangladesh for his role in taking the team from being international whipping boys to becoming a respected limited-overs side.

He led Bangladesh to 49 wins in 87 matches, making him Bangladesh’s most successful one-day captain.

Mashrafe also led Bangladesh to 10 Twenty20 wins before retiring from the format in 2017. He has not played a Test since 2009 due to injury.

Mashrafe won a seat in parliament for the ruling Awami League party in an election in December 2018.

The Bangladesh board wanted to organise a grand farewell last year, but Mashrafe rejected the offer.

Bangladesh have called up uncapped left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed for their 15-man squad for the upcoming two-match Twenty20 International series against Zimbabwe.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim and all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin make a return to the squad, but selectors left out batsmen Mohammad Mithun and Nazmul Hossain, and pace bowler Rubel Hossain.

Mushfiqur skipped Bangladesh’s previous Twenty20 series in Pakistan over safety concerns, while Saifuddin has been out of action since July with a back injury.

Chief selector Minhajul Abedin said they called up 25-year old Ahmed as a back-up.

“Nasum was always in our consideration since he did well in the last BPL,” he said, referring to the Bangladesh Premier League, the country’s domestic T20 tournament.

The two Twenty20 matches will be held at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on March 9 and 11.

Bangladesh defeated Zimbabwe by an innings and 106 runs in a one-off Test, and are currently leading the three-match one-day international series 2-0 after winning the first two matches by 169 runs and four runs respectively.

Meanwhile, Pakistan have rescheduled the one-off ODI against Bangladesh next month in order to provide the visitors more time to prepare for the second ICC World Test Championship Test, which commences at the National Stadium from April 5.


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