Zimbabwe ODI series will be last for Mashrafe as captain: Papon
Ending all speculations, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan Papon revealed that Mashrafe Bin Mortaza will play the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe and will play the role of captaincy for one last time.
The BCB president said after this series, Bangladesh will move on for a new ODI captain, under whom the board wants the team to be regrouped well for the 2023 World Cup.
"We need to setup the team with next world cup in focus and thus we need a captain. We want the team to play at least two years under the new captain before going into the World Cup. So we need to declare a new captain very soon. That might be decided in the next board meeting," Papon said on Wednesday.
Papon also made it clear that it is entirely Mashrafe's decision as to whether he would continue as player or retire from the cricket but if he continues to play cricket, he would have to show his performance like other players.
"If he wants to play, he can play, subject to his performance. At this moment we are thinking just about captaincy. We had seen that the famous players announced their retirement earlier before any series. We also had a desire to give Mashrafe a grand farewell but he does not want it to be," he added.
Mashrafe's future was in dark, following the lanky pace bowler's decision of not retiring from the cricket after the World Cup, despite the insistence of the BCB who wanted to give him a grand farewell, considering his contribution for the country's cricket.
In the World Cup Mashrafe took just one wicket in eight matches, putting a question mark on his career. It was clear that BCB wanted Mashrafe to retire from the ODI cricket, an only version of the cricket he is playing at the moment.
But Mashrafe remained silent and subsequently opted him out from the Bangladesh's tour of Sri Lanka for three-match ODI series due to his hamstring injury.
As Bangladesh didn't play any ODI cricket after this, there was stalemate on this issue. Later, breaking the silence, Mashrafe announced that he won't retire at this moment and would like to prove his fitness to play in the national team. He also said that he is not inclined to get any grand farewell what BCB promised.
However a few days ago, both Mashrafe and head coach Russell Domingo and later Mashrafe and BCB president Nazmul Hassan Papon met exclusively to decide on his future.
Papon then had a meeting with three senior cricketers -Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mominul Haque at BCB officer on Wednesday and came out to declare that Mashrafe is about to play his last ODI series as captain.
"We know that it's the time for him to decide about his future. I think Mashrafe will play the series against Zimbabwe and he will be in the team, subject to his fitness. If he isn't fit then it's other thing," the BCB president said on Wednesday.
"He is still the captain of Bangladesh ODI team and so he will play as the captain of the team."
Papon said, it is tough to get a captain like Mashrafe right at the moment.
"At this moment, we don't have anyone like Mashrafe to lead the side. It's true and we are telling this repeatedly."
But the BCB chief is apprehensive about Mashrafe's ability to pass the beep test, a test which determines the players' fitness.
"In our cricket, some changes have already come. We have introduced beep Test to determine the players' fitness. Mashrafe may not pass the beep Test. But at the same time, we have to remember his contribution for our country's cricket,"
Papon said, adding that they relaxed the matter of beep test in case of Mashrafe at this moment.
"His captaincy is very important for us. At this moment we relaxed the beep test for him." -BSS