Bangladesh news July 7, 2013

Mortaza eyes international comeback in October


Bangladesh pace bowler Mashrafe Mortaza is targeting the home ODI series against New Zealand in October for his international comeback. His fitness has been boosted by a three-week fitness programme that ended at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Sunday.

Mortaza, who has been recovering from a left-heel injury, said that he has lost weight and has started to bowl more overs progressively. He suffered the injury during the Bangladesh Premier League final in February, and has taken unusually long to cure because of the myriad injuries on his left leg. He had undergone a rehabilitation programme while the Bangladesh team was touring Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, and continued to work on his fitness thereafter to participate in the fitness camp which began last month.

Mortaza now believes that not only has he completely recovered from the injury, his confidence has also been on the rise.

"I have lost four kilos from the start of the camp, and I still need to reduce [another] four to five kilos," he said. "I need to weigh around 84-85 to feel completely fit. Vibhav Singh [Bangladesh physio] told me that I still need four to five weeks to be completely fit."

This time, however, Mortaza hasn't required a surgery, which would have been his 11th since his Test debut in 2001. His last international match was an ODI in December last year against West Indies. "I bowled four-five overs yesterday with a short run up, and I bowled almost six overs today with the same run-up, and I didn't feel any pain," he said.

"But I am not able to bowl at my full strength as I feel that the pain may return if I rush myself. There is enough time for me to make myself fitter as the New Zealand series is in October, and I am confident of getting there on time."

The fitness programme has been useful for many players who were injured after the BPL this year, and have been trying for a comeback since then. According to one of the coaches, the programme was their first since their preparations for the 2011 World Cup. They will return next week with more focus on skills, but Mortaza will continue to build confidence through more fitness work.

Closing in on his 30th birthday, and having suffered several injuries, Mortaza has little margin for more injuries. He has already been restricted to limited-overs cricket, and a return to Tests or first-class cricket is still quite a distance away.

The ODIs against New Zealand are scheduled after the Test series, which will give Mortaza more time to recover. The last time New Zealand toured Bangladesh, he tumbled over after bowling just one over in the first ODI, injuring his ankle. This time, he knows that his international career would be jeopardised if there's another injury.

"I am very careful about recovering from my injury this time. I can't afford any more injuries at this point of my career," he said.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BIG on July 10, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    I think he should stay out of games, in fact his still young and why not become an all rounder and not the main bowler.

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    May Allah bless him.... I respect him... I love him .. he is my national hero... A true patriot ..

  • Dummy4 on July 8, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    Hopefully Mortaza doesn't get injured again. Best player in Bangladesh. Where there is Mortaza, there is a chance of winning the world cup.

  • Mike on July 8, 2013, 11:31 GMT

    Domestic Cricket is so vital in Bangladesh. The more first class matches Bangladesh plays and also play away on A tours then the much better test players they will become simple as that. Its good to see players are training earlier than usual because good preparation is the key to success.

  • BIPUL KUMAR on July 8, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    No doubt Mortaza is the best paceman Bangladesh has produce so far . best of luck to him . He will back in action ...................

  • KH. RAFIQUE on July 8, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    Im really tired of this Mashrafee saga.Every now and then he got injured and make the news.None of his statistics (TEST,ODI,T20) is OK either; simply below part.Only thing is certain about him is that he will be getting injured.So, selectors should think beyond him and whatever we have (Simply none) in our pipeline; we have to work along that.

  • Faysal on July 8, 2013, 6:20 GMT

    When I look at Mashrafe & Ashraful my heart starts aching. What could have been if only these to players could have done justice to their talents but failed to do so for completely separate reasons. I hope Mashrafe recovers fully and plays for a further 4-5 years. We have players in the batting and spin department to guide the young and upcoming players but to nurture the young fast bowlers there needs to be someone like Mashrafe around. I still believe if there was someone to guide Ashraful in his young age he would have turned out to be more consistent and less susceptible to approach from bookies.

  • Dummy4 on July 8, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    Yes, He is great bowler for us...

  • Shipu on July 7, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    Well the positive news is that Ramadan will be coming very soon and losing a bit of weight will be much easier for some of those Bangladeshi players. Managing fast bowlers in Bangladesh have always been a problem and being a fast bowler in Bangladesh is not so simple either since their pitches are mainly low and slow. I think its best if Mashrafe just forgets about the long form because it just won't work for him given the history of his injuries like the article puts it and solely just focus on ODIs, a format where Bangladesh obviously has the most success at compared to the long and short forms. I'd rather have Mashrafe playing ODIs for at least the next 5 years until someone like Taskin Ahmed can take over the leading fast bowler role from Mashrafe. Robiul Islam for now is our main leading fast bowler for tests so Mashrafe doesn't need to worry about that either.

  • Farhan on July 7, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    May Allah Bless him. He contributed in most of our big wins and I dont think we have a better fast bowler than him. Having him back will be a great advantage for Bangladesh team :)

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