Mortaza opts out of England ODIs
Bangladesh fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza will be unavailable for the remaining ODIs against England, after requesting the selectors not to consider him for the remainder of the series following a disagreement over his fitness. Allrounder Nasir Hossain was included in the squad ahead of the second ODI in Dhaka on Tuesday.
"Mortaza has informed us and Cricket Operations that he has to be by the side of his ailing mother and therefore was withdrawing himself from the rest of the ODI Series," Rafiqul Alam, the chairman of selectors, said. He had already ruled himself out of next month's Test series against England.
After eight months on the sidelines, Mortaza had been named in the 13-man squad for the three one-dayers against England. He returned to competitive action for a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI in Fatullah on Thursday, his first appearance in national colours since a knee injury during the tour of West Indies in July.
However, he went wicketless in both that game and the first ODI, and though his experience was sorely missed in the tense closing stages of the second match, which England won by two wickets, Bangladesh's captain, Shakib Al Hasan, fuelled rumours of a rift between the two players when he called into question Mortaza's enduring worth at international level.
"The way Mashrafe bowled before his injury, that Mashrafe we might have missed tonight," he said, after the young seamer, Shafiul Islam, had conceded 23 game-turning runs from his last 11 balls of the game. "But the way he bowled in the last match and the practice match [at Fatullah], not really."
Shakib later played down the extent of the falling-out between the two players, adding that the pair had spoken by phone on the day after the match. "He needs some time to get back to full confidence and rhythm," Shakib told Cricinfo. "He needs to play some games and get match-fit again."
Jamie Siddons, Bangladesh's coach, added that Mashrafe had "perhaps over-reacted a bit" when informed of his omission from the second match, but insisted he would remain in contention for future selection. "We definitely want him to play in the Asia Cup and go to England," he told Cricinfo, "because he'll be an asset there with his swing and a bit of swing. We need him back."
In total, Mortaza has undergone six knee reconstructions in the space of eight years, but his latest return to fitness followed arguably the most demoralising setback yet. In July 2009, he was handed the captaincy for Bangladesh's tour of the Caribbean to allow Mohammad Ashraful to concentrate on his batting. But he was able to bowl just 6.3 overs in their famous Test victory in Kingstown, his first match in charge, before collapsing in his follow through on the second day of the game.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo. Go to http://twitter.com/miller_cricket to follow him on Twitter through the England tour of Bangladesh.