Mashrafe Mortaza has announced his retirement from T20 internationals during the toss of the first T20I between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Colombo. Mashrafe said that the current series would be his last in the format.
"This is going to be my last T20 series for Bangladesh," Mashrafe told Dean Jones, who asked the Bangladesh captain if the rumours were true. "I would like to thank BCB, my family and friends, team-mates and coaching staff. I would also like to thank my fans who really supported me in the last 15-16 years."
Mashrafe's official Facebook page soon carried a statement that said: "It has been a great honor for me to represent Bangladesh in T20I for more than 10 years. I believe that this team is currently a balanced one & there are some promising young stars. There were some bad & some good days as well. I always tried to make my fans happy. I am very sorry to each and every fan for not being able to make them happy in every match. Right now as a team we are playing good cricket. I am sure Bangladesh will keep on playing good cricket in the days to come.
"This is high time for me to say good-bye to T20 format so that many youngsters can get the opportunity to showcase their talent and thus BCB can nurture them for the future. Let me congratulate the new Captain in advance & I am sure the best is yet to come."
Mashrafe has led Bangladesh in the most number of T20Is, winning nine of those 26 matches. He played 52 games before Tuesday's match, having taken 39 wickets at 37.56. He had taken one four-wicket haul in the format, against Ireland in Belfast in 2012. He was also a handy bat down the order, having struck 23 sixes in 37 innings.
ESPNcricinfo has learned that Mashrafe had informed the team's senior players first, and then the rest of the team. There were talks recently around the team and BCB management about infusing fresh blood in the T20 line-up and making the team lead with Shakib Al Hasan, after Bangladesh lost 0-3 to New Zealand in a T20 series in January. Bangladesh's 259-run defeat in the Galle Test last month also prompted a lot of speculation about major team changes across different formats.
Mashrafe will continue as the ODI captain and his next assignment is a tri-series in Ireland, involving New Zealand as the third team. From there, Bangladesh will head to England to play the Champions Trophy in June.