Mashrafe lauds Shakib, Taskin for their sacrifice

Former Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was spellbound by the dedication of Shakib Al Hasan and Taskin Ahmed, the two players who were instrumental in the side’s first ever series victory on South African soil.

Shakib, who led Bangladesh’s maiden victory on South African soil, hitting a brilliant 64 ball-77, played the whole series when almost all of his family members were going through various health crises back in the country.

Taskin Ahmed on the other hand, had got an opportunity to play IPL for Lucknow Supergiants but had to say ‘no’ to the franchise after the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) refused to release him. However the IPL snub didn’t cast any impact on his performance as he scalped 5-35 to help the side win the last match by 9 wickets and thereby win the series.

“Four or five family members of Shakib were sick back home. We must see Shakib’s sacrifice. He could have left if he wanted. But he stayed in South Africa. It’s unbelievable, because not one or two, almost everyone was ill in his family,” Mashrafe said of Shakib.

“The biggest thing is he wanted to win the series. It would be said to be a bit selfish, from my point of view. Because at the end of the day everyone in his family was sick. It was Shakib’s decision. Shakib has managed to handle both aspects very well, for this, hats off to Shakib,” the former skipper added.

Shakib however scalped 2-18 in the crucial third and final game. Though Taskin was the ultimate match winner of the last match, South African coach Mark Boucher said it was Shakib whose bowling stifled their innings.

Mashrafe further said Taskin should be rewarded for sacrificing the IPL.

“Taskin definitely should be rewarded. If you look at Anderson and Broad, the ECB does not always compensate them, but gives them the reward since they are serving the country without playing IPL. If the cricketers are rewarded, they would be glad to sacrifice more, thinking that they have the board beside them to look after their needs,” Mashrafe said.

Mashrafe led Bangladesh to reach quarterfinal of ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015, which remains the country’s best success in the cricket’s biggest extravaganza. However, he believes Tamim Iqbal and his troops could go past this success in 2023 World Cup in India.

“It is my belief that this team has the ability to move to the semifinals, since the World Cup will be held in India,” he said.

According to Mashrafe, luck is needed to win an event like the World Cup.

“After the 2019 World Cup, I said – this team has everything possible at their disposal to win the World Cup. But for that, the players have to be fit. There are many matches and series ahead of the World Cup. They also have to end well. It is important for important players to be in good shape and healthy before the World Cup, “said Mashrafe.

“There is no end to the progress. When a team starts playing well, there are also some weak points. The less mistakes you make in a big tournament, the better it is. This ODI team has been playing well since 2015. A rhythm has come. This rhythm also works in the brain when the team starts playing ODIs.

This is a very good opportunity,” he concluded.

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