Ahmed Shatil Alam prepares a timeline in the career of the national cricket team captain who recently retired from the T20 format of the sport
The news of the retirement of from T20 version by Bangladesh national cricket team Captain Mashrafe bin Murtaza -acclaimed as one of the best ever captains in Bangladesh’s cricket history- has not only shocked the cricket lovers in Bangladesh, but also led them to despair about the fate of Bangladesh’s cricket in the T20 format.
His announcement of retirement came on April 4 in Sri Lanka right before the first T20 between Bangladesh and the host-Sri Lanka. The ‘Narail Express’ had started his career in 2001 through a test match against Zimbabwe in Dhaka. With the support of an interview of Mashrafe by prominent sports journalist Noman Mohammad, New Age Xtra prepared the following list of important dates in the 15 year-long cricket life of ‘the captain’.
2001- On November 8, he played his debut match against Zimbabwe in Dhaka. Although the match came to a draw, he bagged four wickets with an economy rate of 3.31 runs per over during the first innings.His first prey was Grant Flower. In this match, he also scored eight runs during the first innings.
2002- Mashrafe had his first surgery on his right knee. The problem started on an away tour in New Zealand in 2001, when during the second test he had to play at eleven with a side strain injury. He was supposed to be excluded from the team due to his side strain. But he was forced to play with his injured leg that was bandaged with surgical tape, upon decision of the team’s management. Besides, he had another injury on his right knee while playing Badminton after the New Zealand tour. Later, he went to India to a doctor who recommended immediate surgery.
2003- It was another year of injury for Mashrafe, for which he did not play against Pakistan in the Multan test- one of the greatest agonies in Bangladesh’s cricket history- where Bangladesh lost by only one wicket. After that Mashrafe was also unlucky as he had an injury duringthe middle of the world cup in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Bangladesh failed to progress past the round-robin stage and Murtaza played in two matches collecting two wickets. In October and November 2003, England toured Bangladesh for two tests and three ODIs. During the second test, Mortaza took what at the time was his best test figures of 4/60, before collapsing with a twisted knee after delivering the ball.
2004- Almost the whole year he was out of the field due to his injuries.But he returned to the field on the first one day match of India’s tour of Bangladesh with a magical spell of 9-2-36-2 after an effective 31 run innings off 39 balls. India lost the match and Mashrafe became the man of the match.
2005- In January, Bangladesh won its first ever test and test series victory against Zimbabwe on the home ground. Mashrafe, undoubtedly played outstanding taking nine wickets in two matches and 93 runs with the bat. He also played a 48-runs innings during the first innings of the first test match that Bangladesh won by 226 runs. Besides, while everyone remembers Ashraful’s century over the significant win at the ODI against Australia in Cardiff, during the same match Mashrafe also played a significant role with an economical spell of 10-2-33-1.
2006- Mashrafe bagged 49 wickets in 27 ODIs, which made him the best wicket-taker among all bowlers of the world during the calendar year of 2006.
2007- It was the year when Mashrafe lost a friend, national cricket team member and left arm spinner Manjarul Islam Rana in a road accident near his hometown of Khulna on March 16 just the day before Bangladesh beat India by five wickets in hand at the World Cup-2007 in West Indies. After learning the bad news, he, became upset and with the motivation by then coach DevWhatmore,Mashrafe went to the field and bowled a magical spell of 9.3-2-38-4 that brought the mammoth Indian batting line to its knees by all of them being bowled out at 191 runs.
2008- The year, when Narail Express who used to be known as ‘Kaushik’ by his family and friends, became the captain of Bangladesh national team, right after the first ever win against New Zealand at home in 2008. As usual, the soon to be captain Mashrafe led the team from the front by bowling a magnificent spell of 10-3-44-4.
2009-Mashrafe secured his place among the top ten bowlers in world by ICC rankings. His first assignment as ‘The Captain’ was in West Indies, but he had played only the first match of the test series- that Bangladesh won 2-0, the first ever test series victory for Tigers abroad.
2010- After the injury from the past year, the fighter did not give up and again buckled up the arm band to secure the Bangladesh’s first ever victory against England in an away tour, becoming the man of the match. Returning from there, at the home series of five matches against New Zealand, Bangladesh won by 4-0. Although Mashrafe led the team during the first ODI, his injury returned and left him out of the tournament after that match.
2011- The year of greatest regret for the captain as he could not play in the world cup due to his injury that was happening at home.
2012- The first ever pace bowling poster boy from Bangladesh, returned to the team with the Asia Cup, not as captain, after a yearlong absence in national team for two consecutive surgeries on his knee.
2013- The captain proved himself, once again, becoming the captain of Dhaka Gladiators- the consecutive champion team of BPL 2013 and 2012. But again he was afflicted with a heel fat pad injury.
2014- Captaincy of Tigers returned toMashrafe.
2015- Bangladesh reached the quarterfinals of world cup, for the first time ever, with Mashrafe leading. Subsequently the Tigers also secured three home series against Pakistan, India and South Africa under his captaincy and the extraordinary performance of newcomer Mustafizur Rahman.
2016- The ban on Arafat Sunny and pace sensation Taskin Ahmed during the T20 world cup shocked Mashrafe as well as the whole country. Mashrafe is still haunted by the outcome of the match, when only one run was required from last three balls against host India. But Bangladesh lost three consecutive wickets sealing their chances of victory.
2017- The Captain retires from T20 to create opportunities for newcomers in the team.