Shakib Al Hasan and Mosharraf Hossain, two stars of Dhaka Gladiators' 43-run win against Chittagong Kings in the final of the BPL, faced dissimilar questions after the victory, for both are at different stages of their careers.
Shakib was asked questions about cars he had won, and what makes they were. Mosharraf, the 31-year-old left-arm spinner, faced questions on stage fright, playing with stars and learning about his strengths and weaknesses. He answered them with glee, for his three wickets had triggered a middle-order collapse, and had earned him the Man-of-the-Match award. It was his finest performance in a 12-year career, in which he had played three ODIs for Bangladesh close to five years ago.
"It was the biggest stage for me, but I just wanted to do things as I have done earlier in my career," Mosharraf said. "I wanted to keep things tight and take wickets, basically help my team-mates do less. It was a very good batting wicket where scoring at ten an over wasn't difficult. I just wanted to cut out the runs and get the wickets."
Long years in domestic cricket have made Mosharraf a perfectionist. He would have loved to finish with a four-wicket haul, but a catch fell between two fielders off his last ball. "I could have done a lot better. I bowled one really bad ball towards the end. I also had one catch that wasn't taken, but I am happy with the three wickets. It is a really big day for me."
Mashrafe Mortaza, his captain, was pleased to see one of his unheralded players do well. "I had full confidence in Mosharraf, simply because he was in superb form ahead of the BPL. He had taken five-fors and ten-fors at will almost, so it was just a matter of telling them that what they are doing is great."
Mosharraf banks on steadiness. He has 255 first-class wickets, so he isn't afraid of tossing the ball at a batsman. Against the Kings he did flight a few, but they were few and far between. He depends on a tight line around off stump, mostly forcing the batsman to cut the ball. That is how Ryan ten Doeschate perished, when he attempted to top-edged a cut to Tillakaratne Dilshan at point. It was a big wicket, and Mosharraf was in the centre of the team huddle, something that doesn't usually occur.
In that same huddle was Shakib, whose feisty 41 off 29 balls had given the Gladiators a good start. On the morning of the final, Shakib retained his No. 1 ranking as a Test allrounder by default. He missed a few matches through injury but when he returned, it was with some runs and a lot of control with the ball, though the bowling came off a shortened run-up and wickets weren't too frequent.
He had a quiet BPL by his standards, though 329 runs and 15 wickets are impressive numbers. He had won the Man-of-the-Tournament award last year for a dynamic show for Khulna Royal Bengals. When asked about the difference between his first Man-of-the-Tournament prize and the second, Shakib said: "I think the only difference was the model of the car."
Shakib will be off to Australia for a check-up on his injured shin, before deciding whether he will play in Sri Lanka, where Bangladesh are due to tour next month. Mosharraf will go back home after taking the plaudits. And in a few days, he will return to the Shere Bangla Stadium to begin preparation for Central Zone in the Bangladesh Cricket League final, which begins on February 22.