The president of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), Nazmul Hassan has announced that the upcoming three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe in Sylhet next month will be the last for Mashrafe Mortaza as Bangladesh's captain.
Hassan has said that the BCB is preparing for the 2023 World Cup and will announce a new skipper within a month following the home series.
Mortaza has led Bangladesh to 47 ODI victories in 85 matches and lost 36 out of them as the captain. He was the captain of Bangladesh in the 2019 World Cup and has been a sensational skipper - leading his team towards ODI series wins against Pakistan, India, and South Africa.
However, the rumours of his retirement from international cricket has lingered due to his poor form. Earlier, Mortaza had opted to leave himself out of a BCB central contract to focus more on domestic cricket.
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Mortaza's fitness levels had been a talking point for the BCB during the squad selection. But Hassan cleared the air by stating that Mortaza will only play the ODI series if declared fit.
"We have started to stress on beep tests so Mashrafe may not pass the beep tests, so we can drop him if he doesn't pass it. We also have to keep it in mind that Mashrafe's leadership was vital in the turnaround in Bangladesh cricket. But, the time has come for him to decide how long he wants to play. I think Mashrafe will play the ODI series against Zimbabwe, pending fitness. We will be lenient about his fitness.
"But very soon, we have to decide on the team and captain for the next World Cup. We don't have much time. We will take our decision after this ODI series."
Hassan expressed that Mortaza had agreed for a farewell match during the 2019 World Cup, but opted to change his decision and continue playing for Bangladesh.
Speaking on the situation, Hassan explained that Mortaza could continue playing if he wishes, but the BCB is currently more focussed on declaring a new skipper for the side.
"Retirement depends on individual players. We know that top players retire on their own will. We also wanted to give him a good send-off. He can play if he wants to, but I am more concerned about the captaincy. Once we declare on the captaincy, he can enter the team on his performance."
Bangladesh's three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe will take place in Sylhet between the 1st to the 6th of March.Published 19 Feb 2020, 19:51 IST