Former Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza has admitted he was hurt the way the Bangladesh team management wanted to shove him out of the team and into retirement. The topic of Mortaza's retirement started doing the rounds after last year's World Cup following Bangladesh's ouster ahead of the semifinals, and even though he's continued to play on, the fast bowler decided to step down as the team's ODI captain in March this year.
But despite leading Bangladesh in 50 wins from 88 matches with a win percentage of 58.13, Mortaza finds people clamouring for his career to end. Last month, Bangladesh bowling coach Ottis Gibson urged Mortaza to retire as he doesn't see him in coach Russell Domingo's plan for the 2023 World Cup. Such treatment, along with a couple of similar incidents, have left Mortaza upset after all the years he's given to Bangladesh cricket.
"Honestly speaking it seemed that there was a rush to bid me farewell and it was certainly hurting," Mortaza told Cricbuzz. "Firstly, they had to arrange a match to bid me farewell and it was not a normal match - a normal bilateral series is something and arranging a special match in a hurry is something else. Secondly, they were prepared to spend BDT Two Crores for that match. From an ethical point of view, it is not right considering our first-class cricket players are not getting paid enough."
Mortaza revealed that post the 2019 World Cup, he and BCB chairman Nazmul Hasan spoke at length about the cricketer's future, after which it was decided that the fast bowler wanted to continue playing till the Bangladesh Premier League. The topic was dropped then and there but Mortaza rues the fact that people not present in that meeting went ahead and said objectionable things in the media about him.
"They spoke about my salary, asking why would the board pay someone without anything in return? Have I been playing cricket for 18 years thinking about money? If I thought about money, there were many opportunities for me then. I did not play cricket for money. What was worse is that they spread rumours like the Bangladesh team played nine and a half players in the World Cup. Do you feel I deserve this? Maybe they [board] wanted to give me a better farewell but you must see my side as well. There were talks about me going for the Sri Lanka tour. I would have gone to Sri Lanka if I had not been injured," he said.
"All of a sudden there was this rush to push me (out). All I know is that I have given my life to cricket even though I was torn apart and bleeding inside. If money was the main criteria, I could have done many things, more so when my career was troubled with so many injuries. I didn't even go to play in ICL when I had an offer of BDT eight crores. I didn't do that. I have played cricket by giving my life and maybe I could not become such a great player. But at least I expect some kind of respect."