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Mashrafe dilemma returns ahead of Windies ODIs

  • Published at 04:46 pm December 26th, 2020
It remains to be seen whether Mashrafe bin Mortaza is part of the Bangladesh side for the West Indies ODIs Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

Mashrafe’s performance for Gemcon Khulna was applauded given that he came back from a long gap of eight months due to the Covid-19 break, and also battled a series of injuries

Dilemma over veteran pacer Mashrafe bin Mortaza’s selection in the Bangladesh ODI team has returned in the Bangladesh Cricket Board office premises as the national team prepare to get back to the international circuit.

International cricket for Bangladesh took a long break since March this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A tested bio-secure bubble arranged by the BCB successfully paved the way for the home series against the West Indies in January, 2021. 

The month-long series will also feature two Test matches after beginning with a three-ODI series.

Bangladesh national chief selector Minhajul Abedin told Dhaka Tribune Saturday that they will declare a 20-member preliminary squad in the first week of January. 

This squad will play two practice games before a 14- or a 15-member squad is announced 48 hours before the series starts.

With the three ODIs looming, discussion is at large in the cricket fraternity whether the selectors will consider Mashrafe for the squad or look beyond to create opportunities for the youngsters.

“We are yet to sit and decide on the squads [for both ODI and Test series]. This time we will name a preliminary squad in the first week of January for the ODIs. This squad will play two practice matches on January 14 and 16 respectively and will be part of the bio-bubble for the whole series. Following the practice matches, we will declare a 14- or a 15-member squad,” said former Bangladesh captain Minhajul.

Speaking on the criterion for team selection, Minhajul informed that they will emphasize on experience.

Bangladesh Cricket Board is making an effort to appoint a batting consultant for the national team ahead of their home series against the West Indies in January.

Posted by Sports Tribune on Monday, 21 December 2020

It is understood that chance of a drastic change is minimal and that only a name or two might get included in the squad for white-ball cricket based on recent performances. 

Cricket in Bangladesh returned to the field first with a three-team one-day tournament in October, followed by a five-team T20 tournament which concluded earlier this month.     

“The squads will be based on experience. There may be a few changes, new inclusions [for the ODI squad] but the core will remain the same. We will have to put our best squad in the series,” said Minhajul.

Right-arm paceman Mashrafe announced his retirement from T20Is in 2017. 

Earlier this year, the 37-year old also quit the ODI captaincy and the charge was handed to opening batsman Tamim Iqbal.

Mashrafe is very much available for national selection in the 50-over format. 

The veteran made a bold statement coming back to the game through the Bangabandhu T20 Cup for champions Gemcon Khulna in the middle of the tournament. 

Mashrafe finished the competition with seven wickets, including a five-for against a strong batting line-up of eventual finalist Gazi Group Chattogram. 

Mashrafe’s performance in the tournament was applauded given that he came back from a long gap of eight months due to the Covid-19 break, and also battled a series of injuries.

Bangladesh’s preparation for the upcoming home series against the West Indies is going to be challenging with the dressing room dealing with injury concerns.

Posted by Sports Tribune on Monday, 21 December 2020

When queried if any thought has been put on Mashrafe, Minhajul said, “Like I said we are yet to sit and discuss on the final squad. We will have a meeting either (Monday or Tuesday).”

According to an influential member of the board, a numb sensation prevails when it comes to discussion over selection of Mashrafe, a situation that has been prevalent since the World Cup 2019. 

There literally has been a saga between BCB and Mashrafe over his remaining time in international cricket. 

The board had strongly hinted, through media, that the former Bangladesh skipper should call it a day and a grand see-off shall be arranged if need be.

Mashrafe though has desired to carry on. 

The situation still remains the same, unsolved.

“This situation must be solved through a meet between the board and Mashrafe. Mashrafe is an icon and you cannot simply put him off. There must be a proper way. The good thing is the board has been willing to arrange a grand send-off, now it is Mashrafe who has to decide,” said a member of the board requesting anonymity.

“If he [Mashrafe] wants to remain in contention for selection then I hope everyone will also understand the process and there is currently a healthy competition in the pace bowling department for spots in the national team to grab,” he added.