Mashrafe Bin Mortaza might not have been in the playing eleven which scripted a two-wicket victory in the fifth and final ODI to clinch a memorable series victory against the formidable West Indies, but the amount of encouragement the brave-heart cricketer provided from behind the scenes played a vital role for the Tigers to achieve their best success in ODI history.
“Mashrafe was a source of inspiration as he kept the dressing room vibrant all through the match,” was the statement from the team manager Tanjeeb Ahsan Saad. The presence of the ‘Narail Express’ in the team not only uplifts the morale of the players on the field but is also a source of encouragement off the field for every team member, junior or senior. The manner in which he has repeatedly returned to international cricket from injury has in itself been an inspiration for any cricketer and especially his teammates.
It would be foolish to judge his contribution in the team during the series just by statistics — five wickets from four ODIs before missing the last through injury — because the pace spearhead bowled with a lot of heart and was integral in giving the team good starts with the ball.
“Honestly speaking we deserved it. I would be happier if we could make it at least 4-1. Everybody is happy and I am too because in my opinion it is the best success in Bangladesh’s one-day history. I have not forgotten our 4-0 success against New Zealand but there were some key players missing. Just look at the figures of the West Indies team and ours, then you can understand the difference between these two sides, so it’s a wonderful achievement for our cricket,” said an excited Mashrafe about the series win.
He however lambasted those who dismissed the Tigers before the start of the one-day series despite their stupendous performance in their last ODI assignment — the Asia Cup in March.
“Before the start of the series many were unwilling to show any respect to us and had only negative things to say about the outcome of the series. How could people forget our heroics eight months ago in the Asia Cup? Thankfully the belief was there among the cricketers and finally we got the result of that belief. People should understand that we are now a very competitive side in one-day cricket and it was wrong to judge our strength on our performance in the Test series,” said the pace spearhead.
“We made it happen without our best player (Shakib Al Hasan) because we played the series as a team. Everybody tried their best to contribute for the team which filled the vacuum left by Shakib. I was a little nervous with so many players making their debut but the way they realised their potential was simply outstanding,” he added.
When asked about the reason behind West Indies’ failure in the one-day series, Mashrafe explained: “They fell under pressure after Chris Gayle was dismissed early and they don’t think about playing under pressure; instead they always try to play their natural game and it’s not easy for them to play their natural game on these kinds of wickets.
Actually our total bowling was excellent.”
Mashrafe said that it would now be wise to focus on winning more matches abroad.
“It’s not easy but we have to win matches abroad. We are now good in our home conditions but we have to make sure that we can win matches outside home if we want to prove ourselves a good team. For that we have to make sure that we get enough opportunities to play matches abroad. I’m however confident about the team and I think we also showed that we have the ability to play good cricket in Tests,” Mashrafe opined.
-With The Daily Star input