Bangladesh news June 20, 2010

Mashrafe Mortaza not giving up on Tests


Mashrafe Mortaza, the Bangladesh fast bowler, has scotched doubts over his Test future, saying he definitely wants to continue playing the five-day game. There had been concerns that six knee operations in eight years might make him follow the example of other injury-prone fast bowlers like Andrew Flintoff and Brett Lee and give up the cricket's most demanding format to prolong his career in the shorter ones.

"I'm looking forward to it, not sure how long it's going to take but I want to play Test cricket again," Mortaza told Cricinfo after the Bangladesh side went through an extended practice session in Dambulla on Sunday.

A year ago Mortaza was leading Bangladesh, and was their pace spearhead, but he broke down in his first Test as captain during the tour of the West Indies. That injury led to an eight-month layoff and more surgery on his knees. There was an aborted comeback bid in February, when Mortaza pulled out of the England one-dayers after one wicketless match.

A wicket-laden performance in the domestic Twenty20 league pumped up his confidence, but after an injury-free World Twenty20, Mortaza asked to not be considered for the Tests in England. He has not had a happy time in the Asia Cup so far. The sharp pace of his prime is missing, and he had little answer against a Tillakaratne Dilshan on the loose.

"Day by day I'm getting there, when I started bowling, I was not that confident but I am feeling better now," he said. Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons was blunt in his assessment of Mortaza. "He's going to have to improve a lot on his current form," Siddons said. "Unfortunately there's no ready replacement for Mashrafe at the moment, we're hoping his experience will pull him through. We'll keep looking for others and if Mash can't stand up we'll have to replace him."

It's been a hard road back for Mortaza, who has shed 12 kgs in an attempt to reduce the load on his knees while bowling. "I was getting injured in the delivery stride, it took me 3-4 months to get my confidence back during delivery," he said. "I need to get to 100% in the run-up and follow-through also. I don't need to change my run-up, but I need change a bit of follow-through."

Besides being Bangladesh's most successful fast bowler, Mortaza has also played some big-hitting cameos for them, but the focus now is solely on his main skill. "Now the first thing that has to be sorted is my bowling, then I'll go for the batting."

After so many injury setbacks, Mortaza is keeping his targets modest - of maintaining his place in the side. "First are the ODIs against England, and then Scotland and Ireland. If I'm in the team, I want to perform well," he said. "I need to play as much as possible, then I'll come back [to my best]. When you come back after 12 months, not that easy to perform in the middle right away, it takes a bit of time.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Tauhidul on June 26, 2010, 5:27 GMT

    I do not agree with Sam_k14. Bangladesh is a side which, unfortunately gets very few domestic matches. There is lack of infrastructure in our domestic level. Our players are continuously being changed, so, most guys don't get enough time to settle. With this inexperienced players against Shahid Afridi, you have got nothing to do.

  • bharath74 on June 21, 2010, 17:32 GMT

    Too much cricket is killing the players future, no team in the world will make fast bowler as their captain as they will be prone to injury. In conclusion we will never get to see a captain like Imran Khan or even Mashrafe Mortaza.

  • Sam on June 21, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    Pakistan 385 and sets a record. Other two teams beat BD hands down. Afghanistan would have played better. Hope BD fans will now agree that BD should not be playing ANY FORM of INTERNATIONAL cricket!

  • gohar on June 21, 2010, 10:30 GMT

    is he a good bowler, he stats does not show that, extremely high bowling avg in test.........with such type of bowlers bangladesh can never win a test against a proper side.

  • Md. Shamsul on June 21, 2010, 8:03 GMT

    Masraffe good luck, go ahead. Mr. Jemmi Siddons he should get more chance to get back his form and we need his experience for Bangladesh team.

  • Dummy4 on June 21, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    Mashrafi should now eye on the upcoming world cup 2011 in Bangladesh since I believe if Bangladesh is to do something extra-ordinary there, then we need a 100% of both physically and mentally fit Mashrafi in the fast bowling department. Shafiul might be the best to complement him on the other side. Besides, He should be careful for the future assuming this is probably his last chance for doing something for the country without an injury. He should be handled properly by the physiotherapist. Wish you all the best Mashrafi, you have proved yourself before and I'm praying to Allah that u will prove yourself again.

  • Dummy4 on June 21, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    still mashrafee is the best bowler in Bangladesh. he needs to time to adjust in international level after him comeback from injured BD has to give time to him as much as possible....i must say like him we have no bowler in our pipe line...yes some pace has been reduced from his delivery and that's why he is out of get back his full pace again he needs to be confident back having given more luck mashrafeeeeee

  • Md. Shamsul on June 21, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    I believe that Mortuza will get his form back again, and we need to give him more chance as he is the prime bowler in the Bangladesh Pace department. Importantly there is no other pacemen who is performing more better than Masraffee. However experience is another issue should be consider highly, as in the past there were so many Pacemen came in the side and lost themselves immediately. So be wise and do not take any hasty decision. Good luck Massraffe Go ahead.

  • yousuf on June 21, 2010, 4:24 GMT

    mashrafe should retire from test cricket if wants to play for BANGLADESH for next 3/4 years.

  • mijanul on June 21, 2010, 3:29 GMT

    Llosing 25 lbs shows the commitment. Weldone Mash. If only he had that type of commitment when he was away from cricket then he would not had to wait for to regain speed now.

    Better late than never. All the best...

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