The drama over Mashrafe Bin Mortaza playing the three-match one-day series against Australia still hangs in the balance with the first game at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur only 48 hours away.
Everybody was curious to know whether Mashrafe would make an international return after missing the World Cup due to injury as the ‘Narail Express’ skipped training with the Tigers at Mirpur.
When he finally talked with the reporters after training, Mashrafe kept everybody guessing.
“I’m yet to take the final decision because I want to talk with everybody before taking this decision. I can assure you that tomorrow a decision taken for the best will be taken,” said Mashrafe with an inquisitive smile.
What is confirmed is that Mashrafe is not fully fit and is also mentally going through turbulent times because of his ailing wife, making a decision on his return to international cricket against a team like Australia difficult.
Mashrafe didn’t explain the reason behind the dilly-dallying but a reliable source informed that he was under pressure from the board high-ups to play this series. It might sound funny but the reality is that he was drafted in the side despite the observation of the team think-tank that he was still unfit.
Besides, from the very beginning Mashrafe has been saying that he was not good enough to play in the series, prompting a burning question: Did the authorities concerned take his opinion before including him in the squad?
“I think it would not be wise to talk about the issue now. What I can say is that I am honest in my position. It would be good not to make public what happened before the selection,” Mashrafe said when asked whether the authority has taken his opinion before drafting him into the squad.
Mashrafe however said that it would have been better for him if he had gotten at least one more week to improve his current fitness status.
“I’m giving hundred per cent in my bowling and it’s not as if I was far away from my standard. But it could have been much better if I got at least one more week for preparation. Physio (Michael Henrry) also told me that I need a few more days for gaining full fitness.
“Because of family problem I was out of touch for almost forty days which made it difficult for me to regain full fitness. As a player I want to play this series but I have to think about my team also,” he continued.
Mashrafe however believes that his decision, be it yes or no, would not distract the team focus ahead of a tough challenge.
“I don’t think it will hamper the team spirit because everybody is focused on the series and they are very much aware about my situation. And above everything I have to fight for a place if even I am hundred percent fit because Rubel (Hossain) and Shafiul (Islam) are in the best form,” said Mashrafe, adding the he would go for another surgery on his right knee sooner than later.
Courtesy of The Daily Star