World Cup: The Bangladesh that Mashrafe dreamt of

The buzz is that Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza may hang up his boots after World Cup 2019.

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza made his international debut in 2001.   -  AP

The team’s pre-match media interaction was about to get over and Bangladesh coach, Steve Rhodes, was asked about his thoughts on team captain Mashrafe Mortaza.

There is a buzz that Mashrafe may not finally travel with the team for its next assignment in Sri Lanka, and is likely to hang up his boots after the World Cup.

Rhodes looked at the scribes and wittily said: “You will put that and nothing (as the) headline…” There were rolls of laughter in the media room, but a few seconds later, the coach put things in perspective.

“If he’s not in Sri Lanka, then we move on… Bangladesh has to move on eventually without Mash,” Rhodes said.

READ| Pakistan needs 'mathemagic' to qualify for semis

The coach knows that for the sake of a smooth transition, the team has to look beyond its much-celebrated captain, ‘like all the great countries in international cricket’. “It’s not always easy. It can be a difficult void to fill, but that's what I was meaning when I said we move on…” Rhodes said.

Coming into the tournament as one of the underdogs, Bangladesh’s hopes of reaching the last-four stage crashed after it went down to India earlier this week. But on the positive, the team has been able to built its second line of cricketers, who have time and again shown glimpses of their brilliance in the tournament.

While seniors like Shakib Al Hasan and Soumya Sarkar have been in the forefront, young guns Liton Das and Mosaddek Hossain have also shown potential. That’s certainly a big takeaway.

“I think that’s one of the areas that we’re getting a little bit better at. We have seen some good performances from Liton in this tournament. Soumya Sarkar has been consistent without a big score, but he’s shown what he can do leading up to this tournament,” Rhodes said.

The tour of Ireland and the World Cup also gave Mosaddek, Mehedy Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman a chance to prove their mettle and the coach is impressed with them.

“We’ve had great contributions, and long may it continue. That is one area that we're now showing signs. I call them our medium sort of players, but it won't take them long. They'll become the main sort of players, but I think the most important player is the team, the team doing well…” the coach said.

In the tournament so far, the team has tried out all the squad members, except youngster Abu Jayed Rahi.

But the coach believes his time will come soon. “What a great lad he is. He's been in the nets, in practice. He's been so professional. He's tried so hard. He's been great practice for our batsmen. He's running hard every single time, and he looks like he's not going to get a game of cricket in the World Cup…”

“But what I will say about the guy is that, if he keeps doing those things, then games will happen for him. Appearances will happen, and probably success as well because of his terrific attitude…”

From being minnows to giant killers — Bangladesh has come a long way and as another World Cup campaign nears an end, the coach assures that there shall be time for the ‘Tigers’ to roar!