Nidahas Trophy: BCB urge Mashrafe Mortaza to come out of T20I retirement
What's the story?
In order to reinforce their fortunes in the shortest format of the game, Bangladesh are eager to bring former skipper Mashrafe Mortaza out of T20I retirement. Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Nazmul Hassan has opened up on their plans to persuade the seam bowler to return to the T20I team for the upcoming Nidahas Trophy involving hosts Sri Lanka and India.
Nazmul Hassan divulged, "We have talked about it (bringing Mortaza out of retirement) in today's (Tuesday's) meeting. It also depends on Mashrafe. Everyone has told me that he will listen to me. I can't put him under pressure. I can tell him if he agrees. I had mildly told him to play the last T20 series. He told me he wants to play Tests, not T20s. There's no doubt that he is our best new-ball bowler. We will ask him to return for the Nidahas Trophy next month."
Having made his T20I debut in 2006, Mortaza played 54 matches in the shortest format and picked 42 wickets at an average of 36.35 and economy-rate of 8.04. During the two-match series in Sri Lanka on April 2017, he announced his retirement from T20Is.
The heart of the matter
Since Mortaza's retirement, Bangladesh have played four T20Is and lost all of them. From nine matches in the aftermath of the 2016 World T20, they have managed to win just one game (which incidentally was Mortaza's final appearance in the format). A major reason behind their travails has been the underwhelming performance of their seam bowlers.
With Mustafizur Rahman not quite possessing the same menace after his shoulder surgery in 2016, Bangladesh's seam attack has struggled across all formats. In particular, their collective lack of potency in T20Is has forced BCB to seriously start considering bringing Mortaza out of retirement from the shortest format.
Although he has not featured in T20Is for more than ten months, Mortaza continues to play in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). During the 2017 season, he led Rangpur Riders to the title. BCB are hoping that the right-arm seamer, who is currently Bangladesh captain in ODIs, helps lift the flagging team morale even as T20I skipper Shakib Al Hasan returns from injury.
Bangladesh will begin their campaign in the Nidahas Trophy by squaring off against India on March 8. A couple of days later, they will take on hosts Sri Lanka. All matches in the T20I tri-series will be held at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
It remains to be seen if Mortaza pays heed to BCB's request and resumes his T20I career. Things will be clearer when Bangladesh announce their squad in the coming days. With the younger seamers failing to perform consistently, it may not be a bad short-term idea if the experienced campaigner chooses to come out of retirement for the tri-nation series.