Mashrafe savours 100 wickets as captain amid retirement issue

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SYLHET, March 1, 2020 (BSS) – As his retirement issue kept hogging the headline, something which he wants to avoid desperately, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza became only the fifth captain in the history to take 100 ODI wickets when he grabbed 2-35 against Zimbabwe in the first ODI at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium here on Sunday.

Wasim Akram (158), Shaun Pollock (134), Imran Khan (131) and Jason Holder (101) were the other four bowlers who claimed 100 wickets as captain.

Mashrafe who took just one wicket in eight matches in the World Cup, which sparked a widespread criticism, ended his wicket-draught by dismissing his opposite number Chamu Chibhabha for 10. That was his first wicket for him after five ODI games.

Later he scalped Tinotenda Mutumbodzi for 24 to wrap up Zimbabwe’s innings for 152 in 39.1 overs and completed Bangladesh’s massive 169-run victory, which was their largest margin victory in ODI history.

Bangladesh compiled 321-6 after opting to bat first, thanks to a scintillating 105 ball-126 of Liton Das.

This was much-needed victory and a milestone that Mashrafe needed at this moment badly as he went through a suffocating environment due to his retirement issue. He also made a rare outburst during the pre-match conference of the first ODI, saying “Am I a thief” when a journalist asked him whether this situation hurt his self-respect.

Mashrafe said there was some pressure on him as he was playing an ODI game after a long time.

“I last played an ODI eight months back. Doesn’t matter if you post a target of 322, you have to put the ball in the right places,” he said after Bangladesh secured the victory in emphatic fashion.

“It’s been not going well last 3-4 matches for us in this format. We hadn’t been up to the mark in those games, but today we were up for it. Liton batted so well, and it mattered that others batted around him. Mahmudullah batted well, and Mithun also, not easy to bat at 6 for him,” he added.

“If you look at our side, Saifuddin has just come back from injuries. We were good in all three departments. You can control your fielding, and this is something that we are working hard on in practice,” he concluded.