Mashrafe vows to continue cricket despite ODI snub

DHAKA — Unfazed by his ODI snub, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza said he would continue to play domestic cricket in his endeavor to make himself available for the national team again.

The team management left out Mashrafe for the upcoming home series against West Indies, hinting his International career is over as the selectors made it clear that they are keen to groom the young players in a bid to build a strong team for the 2023 world Cup.

The former skipper took this matter professionally, saying that everything has an end but he would try his best to prove himself.

“It was not surprising [being omitted from the national team] for me and my family. Everything has an end but I will continue to play domestic cricket,” he told the reporters.

Mashrafe stepped down from the ODI captaincy, the lone format of cricket he is playing, in Bangladesh’s last International series against Zimbabwe, against whom the Tigers swept the three-match ODI series.

Mashrafe’s retirement issue was doing the rounds for the last two years, specially after the 2019 World Cup. But the fast bowler who is still the highest wicket-taker for the country in ODI cricket, was never keen to get a fitting farewell for which the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) offered him.

He rather was willing to play cricket as long as it is possible.

The chief selector Minhazul Abedin Nannu said they talked to Mashrafe about their plan to move on for building a strong team for the 2023 World Cup.

Mashrafe admitted his discussion with the national selectors, stating that he has no complaint over what decision the team management had taken.

“I have taken it professionally. However I have already told my retirement thoughts. I want to play as long as my mind and body are going well. I am not aware of what is waiting for me. It’s the selectors who will decide on my International career. But I will try my best,” he said.

One of the main concerns about Mashrafe was his fitness. But given his track record in the last five years, he was absolutely fine as far as fitness is concerned.

Even in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup, he claimed a five-wicket haul, shortly after recovering from Covid-19 and hamstring injury. He hadn’t shown any lethargic effort in the field as well.

Mashrafe said concerns over his fitness motivated him to keep him fitter always.

“In my 18-year long career, no one can say I failed in a fitness test. Even during the Bangabandhu T20 Cup, I passed a fitness test to make myself available for the tournament. I am pleased with my fitness and the form, which is why I am keen to continue my cricket,” he concluded.BSS