I Was Unhappy, That The BCB Force Wanted To Retire: Mortaza > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - I was unhappy that BCB tried to force retirement: Mortaza
Having led Bangladesh successfully, the former captain reckons that he be allowed to retire from the game on his own terms
Mashrafe Mortaza's retirement has remained a talking point in Bangladesh cricket for quite some time. The country's most successful ODI captain spoke to Cricbuzz regarding his retirement plans, not being able to retire at Lord's during the World Cup, and being kept in the dark during the players' movement. Here are the excerpts:
Tell us about your retirement plan? Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo suggested that you are not part of the scheme of things going forward.
My basic plan is to play cricket. No one stays in anyone's plan. In fact, it is a matter of understanding or knowing who is planning what. Of course, one thing I need to clear is that I was the highest wicket-taker in the previous three series before the 2019 World Cup. The tournament though was bad beyond my imagination. Now it is natural that everyone will judge me with one tournament. I will not disagree with that. But how I see myself is up to me. And (like I said previously) I was the highest wicket-taker in the previous three series before the World Cup.
Did you quit captaincy to prove that you have something to offer as a bowler? And you may not be an automatic choice...
There is no such thing as the end. If you can't provide a level playing field then you are not even a planner. If I do well then I must be given a chance. If they don't give then your planning is not right. I don't know if there will be Dhaka League now or not (owning to Covid-19 pandemic). If it happens then it will be my target and if not then what will be in front will be the target. I don't know what arrangement the BCB has and where all the players will play. Whatever opportunity comes my way, I will try to grab it.
Why did you step down from ODI captaincy all of a sudden?
The (next) World Cup is still a little over three years away. So from now on, if BCB can name a proper captain for the World Cup, then it will be good for the Bangladesh team. The case is different as a player. Just two months before the 2011 World Cup, I was ruled out of the tournament (with an injury). So there is no guarantee for (playing just as) a player. Even the captain can have an injury, and it's also a different case. But the cricket board always wants to have their best captain. In that case, it is a good opportunity. A lot of time is available for the (new) captain. Shakib [Al Hasan] is also in line. I think Tamim [Iqbal] will do very well, Insha'Allah, I am very optimistic. I am hopeful that Tamim will do well but if he doesn't then the board will probably think of other options. So there is flexibility, as the cricket board is getting three long years in their hands. So my decision was based on those things.
Do you think that your political identity has overshadowed your player identity?
Everyone can think in their own ways. My mind is very clear about what I am doing. Look before joining politics I was the highest wicket taker in the series that we played and it was the same with the following two series that we played (after my entry into politics). All of a sudden I turn into a bad player after just one tournament? It's okay with me because I cannot control what others are thinking and the only thing that I can do is say what I am thinking.
You had a chance to retire at Lord's in the World Cup...
I wanted to retire after the last game in the World Cup but it did not happen. I don't want to go into the details of why I didn't do it there but I had put forward my intention (of retiring) in England. What I feel is that all that Allah does is for the good.
Did the BCB want to arrange a farewell game for you at home?
That is the point. Honestly speaking it seemed that there was a rush to bid me farewell and it was certainly hurting. Firstly, they had to arrange a match to bid me farewell and it was not a normal match - a normal bilateral series is something and arranging a special match in a hurry is something else. Secondly, they were prepared to spend BDT Two Crores for that match. From an ethical point of view it is not right considering our first-class cricket players are not getting paid enough.
Was it disappointing for you that the BCB chose to communicate their intentions through the media?
No, that was not the case entirely. Papon bhai [BCB president Nazmul Hasan] spoke with me about this (retirement issue). Papon bhai also told me that he will only talk with me and will not talk to anyone else about this issue. He repeatedly called me and told me to make a decision. Then I told him at that time I will play till the BPL. He then went to the press and said that. I clearly remember he told everyone to leave the room as he wanted to talk to me personally. In this case, he has given me enough respect. The problem is those who were not there spread rumours. They didn't even know anything about what was discussed between me and Papon bhai.
They spoke about my salary, asking why would the board pay someone without anything in return? Have I been playing cricket for 18 years thinking about money? If I thought about money, there were many opportunities for me then. I did not play cricket for money. What was worse is that they spread rumours like the Bangladesh team played nine and a half players in the World Cup. Do you feel I deserve this? Maybe they [board] wanted to give me a better farewell but you must see my side as well. There were talks about me going for the Sri Lanka tour. I would have gone to Sri Lanka if I had not been injured.
All of a sudden there was this rush to push me (out). All I know is that I have given my life to cricket even though I was torn apart and bleeding inside. If money was the main criteria, I could have done many things, more so when my career was troubled with so many injuries. I didn't even go to play in ICL when I had an offer of BDT eight crores. I didn't do that. I have played cricket by giving my life and maybe I could not become such a great player. But at least I expect some kind of respect.
Mortaza was considered as a player's captain as he took inputs from everyone
You were not called to be part of players' movement despite being the ODI captain then. Was it because you were also in politics?
How do I answer this question? Because if there is a distance with the team after I joined politics, then it should have been worse now that I'm out of the team. But I still have good communication with everyone. I have played many matches with my teammates since I came into politics. I was playing poorly and Tamim also wasn't able to play well (at one point). We shared our feelings with each other. If there was a sense of distance, I would not have done that.
Tamim said that you were called but could not be reached...
Let me clear this once and for all. My father was ill at that time. Three days before that I talked to Tamim about beach cricket. But he didn't say anything about the strike. He is the only one who talks to me on the phone many times. So maybe Tamim called me for this reason. My father got sick then, at first they said he had a heart attack and so my phone was switched off, my father was admitted at the Cantonment Hospital at first and then he was flown the next day to Apollo Hospital. I was not online. I was in the hospital when Tamim called and I thought he called me to talk about the money for beach cricket.
Your two major decisions in cricket - retiring from T20s and quitting as ODI captain - came all of a sudden. Why is that?
All the decisions in my life I have taken have come out of nowhere. And I'm proud of it. And that's how I succeeded in all my decisions. I just let my family know and I told my teammates. But I never told anything to any coach. You see, the environment is important. I thought that it's enough. When I think about anything I don't listen to anyone. I think I will play now but if I wake up tomorrow morning and think that I am not feeling well anymore I will quit.
What is the toughest thing to do for a captain?
Now Tamim is the captain, Tamim has to plan a lot. Mushfiqur, Riyad, Shakib will play under Tamim's captaincy. That means three (former) captains, so there's a matter of managing them. After that there are young boys, it's not that difficult, but you have to manage them, you cannot avoid it. You have to take their suggestions. When I was the ODI captain, I took suggestions and there were many times when I have agreed with their decisions. Sometimes you are under pressure, many things can happen. Others might have different views. So when others say something, you have to trust them. You have to have that faith in your teammates. It can be a very young player, maybe he's playing his first match. He might bring something for your side. So you have to have that mental flexibility as a captain.
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