Mashrafe says he's stepping aside for next generation
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza said that his aversion to T20s ultimately pushed him to retire from the format. Speaking on the day that he announced the current T20I series against Sri Lanka would be his last for Bangladesh, Mashrafe said that he was asked to rebuild the T20I side when given the captaincy in 2014, but now he was blocking the path of other fast bowlers like Rubel Hossain.
"It is always tough to hang up your jersey," Mashrafe said following Bangladesh's six-wicket defeat in the first T20I at Colombo on Tuesday. "But I thought that if I look behind me, someone like Rubel is missing out. He should have been in the first XI, but he is missing out because of me. Since he is performing better than me, he should be in the team. I still feel this team is the best place for our youngsters to grow for a bigger stage like Tests and ODIs.
"I never enjoyed that format when T20 started. I played five World Cups but I never enjoyed it. Maybe because of my injuries. This format is quick and sharp so you don't get enough chances to warm up your body, especially my legs which hurt a lot. I still kept going because cricket board was respecting me as a captain. I was trying really hard to build this team as much as I can. I don't know how much I did but it was a real pleasure to captain in T20s."
Bangladesh had picked four fast bowlers in the game on Tuesday, with Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed and newcomer Mohammad Saifuddin accompanying Mashrafe. The captain had taken just one wicket in Bangladesh's previous T20I series, against New Zealand, while Rubel took seven wickets but still missed out. Interestingly, it was the exiting Mashrafe who bowled better than the rest in the game, finishing with figures of 2 for 32 in four overs.
Mashrafe didn't reveal too many details about what pushed him to take such a decision, but said that the final call was made the night before the game. He informed the BCB president Nazmul Hassan almost immediately but also stated his intention to continue in one-day cricket.
"I am not thinking about [quitting ODIs] at this moment," Mashrafe said. "I don't plan out many things, but [retiring from the T20I team] was a tough decision. A lot of people are involved in such a decision, like my family, friends, team-mates and the media. I thought it would be the same if I took the decision today or two days later.
"The only thought was that I would leave the format. Perhaps it was a sudden decision. I didn't think too much about it. I felt that I didn't want to play T20s."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84