Mashrafe Mortaza returns to training; could play in Bangabandhu T20 Cup
He could also become available for the ODIs against West Indies next month
Mashrafe Mortaza bowled in the nets for the first time since recovering from a hamstring injury, with one eye on returning to competitive cricket. Although he is not part of any of the Bangabandhu T20 squads, it was mentioned during the players' draft that he can join any of the squads after recovering from the injury. Mortaza, whose last competitive appearance was during the Dhaka Premier League in March, has had a rough time since the pandemic began, having tested positive for Covid-19 in June. Members of his family also contracted the virus in the past few months, and he hurt his hamstring while training last month.
Tushar Kanti Howlader, the BCB trainer, said that Mortaza bowled four overs in the nets after completing his fitness work on Tuesday.
"I am helping him with his return to training," Howlader said. "He had been doing some work after recovering from Covid, so now he wants to get into a better position, fitness-wise. He is just bowling now. We cannot talk about match fitness just yet. He can be fit if he continues to train in this way. He doesn't have to work on technique, it's only his fitness that is the main concern."
Howlader said that Mortaza also lost a lot of weight which could pave the way for a comeback in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup, in which eight matches have been played and another 12 league games remain before the playoffs begin on December 14. So far Gazi Group Chattogram have lost Mominul Haque to injury, but any of the five participating teams would love to take Mortaza in their squad.
"He has bowled four overs with full run up. I think he is around 84kg, after losing ten kilos," Howlader said. "He will reduce more, I am sure. I think the match fitness is also up to him. He is Mashrafe, quite different, and he can do a lot of things. It is up to him, if he wants to play. He has to bowl four overs in the middle, so if he can manage it, then he will have match fitness."
Mortaza, who resigned from ODI captaincy earlier this year with a 3-0 win over Zimbabwe, could still become available for the ODI series during West Indies' scheduled tour of Bangladesh next month.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84