Confident Mortaza raring for comeback
The Bangladesh fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza believes his success on the domestic circuit has primed him for a strong return to international cricket. Mortaza was the Player of the Tournament in the recently concluded National Cricket League, taking ten wickets and scoring 93 runs, and he said he was raring to go at the ICC World Twenty20 starting April 30.
"It was a good tournament for me because I got back my confidence by playing this Twenty20 tournament. I played one one-day game against England after recovering from injury but in this tournament I played six games without any trouble," Mortaza told the Daily Star.
"It takes time to get back full rhythm in my bowling but still I am happy with the way I bowled in the tournament and I also enjoyed my batting there. My action has changed a little bit after the injury but the most satisfying fact is that I was getting back my in-swingers."
After eight months on the sidelines, Mortaza made his first appearance in national colours since a knee injury during the tour of West Indies in July, in an ODI against England in February. However, he went wicketless in that game, and was not played further as 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.
Mortaza chose not to dwell on the past and instead looked forward to regain his aggressive ways with the ball. "I am now fully concentrating on my fitness and how I can regain my aggression in my bowling because without that it's impossible to prove myself again as a wicket-taking bowler," he said. "I believe in performance and hope I can prove myself again as a performer."
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.
Mortaza was aware that he would have to ease himself back into limited-overs cricket but had his sights trained on the biggest challenge of all. "Definitely now I'm seriously thinking about Test cricket and I am confident that I can revive my Test career also but I want to take time. I requested captain Shakib and the selectors not to consider me for the Test series in England. Right at the moment I want to play only one-day and Twenty20 matches," said Mortaza.
"I am fit enough to bowl at least 15 overs if I want to play Test cricket and that's why I need to see how things go in the shorter version of the game, after which I will decide about my Test comeback. But everything will depend on whether the team needs my service."