Mashrafe – a brand

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza. Nick name Kaushik. Born on 5th October, 1983. From Narail, Zessore. Started his international career on 8th November, 2001 against Zimbabwe, in a test match. Played for Bangladesh and Asia XI in international cricket. Played for Khulna Division, Dhaka Gladiators, Comilla Victorians and Kolkata Knight Riders in domestic cricket. Known as Narail Express.

Played 36 test matches, scored 797 runs, highest score is 79, average is 12.75, strike rate is 67.2, 3 fifties; took 78 wickets, innings best is 4/60, match best is 5/88, bowling average is 41.52, economy rate is 3.24, took 4 wickets 1 time; awarded Man of the Match 1 time.

Played 163 ODI matches, scored 1450 runs, highest score is 51 not out, average is 14.21, strike rate is 87.87, scored 1 fifty; took 208 wickets, match best is 6/26, bowling average is 30.6, economy rate is 4.7, took 4 wickets 4 times, 5 wickets 1 time; awarded Man of the Match award 10 times and Man of the Series 2 times.

Played 49 T20I matches, scored 366 runs, highest score is 36, average is 14.64, strike rate is 137.59; took 38 wickets, match best is 4/19, bowling average is 35.86, economy rate is 7.84, took 4 wickets 1 time; awarded Man of the Match 2 times.

This is what you will know from statistical or cricket websites. This is how figures represent Mashrafe. But is this the real Mashrafe? No! You might also come to know that the guy had 7 operations in his knees, 3 in ankles; a total of 10operations on his legs. This shows that his international career could be a little longer and better without even 50% of this disasters. Still does not show the man!

So how do we get to know the real Mashrafe! Let me take you back to 2001.

Back in 2001, Bangladesh was less than 1 year old in test cricket. Zimbabwe invited us to play against them on their soils. Selectors were looking for a young pace bowler. Being a sub-continent nation, we never had trouble producing spin bowlers. But pacers? Our environment then were extremely against producing pace bowlers. Suddenly selectors saw a guy over 6 feet tall. Bowling at a great speed. Reaching around 140 kilo per hour speed regularly. He hit quite some shots and threw his body carelessly in the dedication towards his team. He was in!

A Bangladeshi tall pacer coming quickly towards you, challenging you with a 140 kph delivery, giving you an aggressive look, has the collar always up. This scenario can show Mashrafe Bin Mortaza. But still! A very little!

He was out of the team pretty quickly due to injury and there begins his rivalry with injuries. He makes a come back later. Falls prey to injury again! His career seems to be at the wrong way!

  1. England comes to Bangladesh. They faced Mortaza for the first time. The man in white dress challenges English batting lineup with some quality pace bowling. Grabs his career best figures. English side comes to know that Bangladesh does have pacer.

Injury! Yes!! Again!!! Mashrafe misses some series yet again for the wretched thing. But he comes back again.

  1. India tour of Bangladesh. India barely survived a loss in the first one-day match. They thought the rest would be easy for them. Well. Not really! India thought of packing the home side early. But the man in the lower middle order smacks some out of the ground. He returns to bowl. Takes crucial wickets. Takes his team home. Bangladesh defeats one of the best one-day cricket teams at home. This shows Mashrafe. Well! A bit!! People remember Cardiff of 2005 as the venue where Bangladesh defeated Australia through Ashraful’s magnificent hundred. It was Mashrafe to take Gilchrist out quickly to never let aussies fly!

2007 cricket world cup. Everyone remembers this to be the world cup when Bangladesh cricket team let the world know that they don’t wanna be minnows anymore. Well, how did Bangladesh start the journey? Mashrafe bowls Sehwag’s stumps to let world know that the champ was ready to be known.

In the next 4 years, juniors were given captaincy. Mashrafe not just accepted it, he appreciated them and helped them. When he was given leadership for a very possible successful series against West Indies at their home, he accepted it. Statistics shows he was captain for that one test match(1st), won it and has 100% success as captain record. But statistics will never show that due to injury, this guy could never play a test ever again!

Before 2011 cricket world cup, when whole Bangladesh was ecstatic about the first ever cricket world cup at home; Mashrafe came to know that he was not fit! Whole Bangladesh cried for this man. Mashrafe cried for only one reason. That he could not play world cup and represent his team in his own country. This might show who Mashrafe is!

Then Bangladesh cricket reached new heights. And with new, more difficult challenges; it was time for the real warrior to take his rightful place. He was chosen to be the captain of Bangladesh ODI and T20I side on 2013. And what happened since then?

Bangladesh defeated New Zealand and West Indies at home. Defeated Sri Lanka at their home. Played one of their best world cup tournaments in 2015. Defeated Pakistan, India and South Africa in a bilateral series at home. Differentiated themselves from minnows and became one of the future giants. Yes! This shows Mashrafe somewhat!

Celebrating with young pacer by bumping onto each other in the air, shouting in dejection after giving one extra run, maintaining good relationship with everyone in the team; this is Mashrafe. He failed prey to injury recently in a match against Afghanistan again. But he played the match, bowled and went for economy rate below 3.

A fan in this match suddenly entered the field. He just wanted to hug Mashrafe, shake his hand and touch his feet. Security officials chased the guy down and wanted to pull him badly and thrash him. Mashrafe stops the officials and hugs the man tightly. Does not let go until security guys promise to go easy on him. This is Mashrafe.

We Bangladeshis are proud of 1971 liberation war and the martyrs of that war. We are also very emotional. Due to the awesome persona of Mashrafe, we sometimes compare him to martyrs of 1971 liberation war. He feels bad about it. He feels ashamed and clears his position and the greatness each everyone of the martyrs hold. He does not want to be compared to them. Never! Cricket is just a game to him. Life is a lot broader. He teaches us to be practical.

Numbers might show you a promising career gone wrong because of injury. But they will never show you what Mashrafe is. It is not a name. It is a brand!

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