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10 December, 2018 00:00 00 AM

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18 years, 200 ODIs down the line, Mash still looks fresh

He gives befitting reply to critics
Sports Reporter, Dhaka
18 years, 200 ODIs down the
line, Mash still looks fresh
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza delivers a ball during his terrible bowling spell taking 3 for 30 against West Indies in the first ODI match yesterday at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in the capital. BCB Photo

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza marked his 200th ODI game, producing one of his most memorable performances in the recent time as he snapped up three for 30 in a measly bowling effort against West Indies, a side boasted with several big hitters who can destroy any bowling line up in any kind of pitch.

But more than his performance, what looked prominence was his freshness despite completing a career spanning over 18 years .

Mashrafe, the Bangladeshi player to play 200th ODI faced (198 ODIs for Bangladesh, two for Asia XI)  lots of ups and downs in his career but the Narail Express, as he is adorably called, remained unperturbed in his journey after making his ODI debut in 2001 against Zimbabwe.

The right-arm pace bowler excelled in using his brains rather than trying to go after speed since realising that it won’t fetch him much dividend in the long run since coming back from his last knee operation in 2011 that had been under the knife for six more times previously.

Mashrafe focused on consistency more than anything else as far as his bowling is concerned during the last phase of his career and it perhaps played a major impact in his phenomenal performances.

In a country where spin bowlers ruled the roost in most cases, Mashrafe seemed to be nothing short of revelation since he came up in the international scene thought he never looked to have reached the pinnacle of his success considering injuries remained his constant companions.

The three-match ODI series against the West Indies is expected to be his last series at home after he decided to join politics recently and hinted at his retirement after the World Cup next year.

Mashrafe looked to be busy with series preparation and overwhelmed by the mixed of reaction of his fans for joining politics but if there was one thing that cannot be ignored for the over 35-year pacer was that he was playing with immense pressure.

But he looked determined to take up the challenge, evidencing in his bowling performance in the first ODI. Mashrafe, who had quit T20’s international during the last tour of Sri Lanka in 2017 while had been out of Test cricket since getting injured in West Indies in 2009, is known to be pretty particular about his individual preparation before taking up ODI assignments.

However, he decided to alter his preparation plan and opted to remain out of public reach for a reasonable amount of time since filing his nomination paper for the upcoming 11th Parliamentary Election.

This absence was enough for his detractors to raise a few eyebrows and followed that with putting up question mark- whether he is still focused for the game that had earned him all the stardom he enjoys at present.

Mashrafe answered them with superb display of controlled pace bowling against the West Indies and it looked it was too hot for them to handle as they were struggling against his variations, a key component that helped him survive this long.

Mashrafee bowling charisma got overshadowed a lot since the arrival of Mustafizur Rahman but it hardly took the gloss off from him as he managed to learn how to bowl some useful cutter for himself in the time span.

What remained his major strength is that he could bowl in good length area with considerable consistency coupled by hitting the seam with great deal of accuracy, a thing other pace bowlers lacked.

A testament of his consistency remains in the fact that he is the most successful bowler since taking over the captaincy for the second time in 2014 as he picked highest 81 wickets from 61 ODI’s during this time span while his close rival Shakib al Hasan picked 74 wickets in 57 matches during this phase.

There is popular phrase used in cricket- captains lead from the front- and Mashrafe looked determined to showcase his talent with utmost precision with his superb bowling spell against West Indies.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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