In the last part of The Business Standard's (TBS) two-part exclusive interview of Mashrafe Mortaza, he spoke about the reason behind retiring from T20Is for Bangladesh.
In the second part, the charismatic leader opens up about what goes on in the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and the current team management among many other things.
TBS: You've said that you are not sure whether these board directors attend the office or know what they need to know. Can you explain this?
Mashrafe: I said that because they lied about my fitness and that may be possible that they don't attend the office and aren't aware of the necessary information. Everyone is busy with their own businesses. Okay, you don't need to go to the office. But you need to know the information. You can be asked anything by the media anytime. How can you answer that if you don't know all these?
We often hear a lot of things about families travelling with cricketers. Do you think the board pays for it? No. The cricketers have to pay. The board members who travel with us abroad are allowed TADA (Travelling Allowance & Dearness Allowance) of 500 Dollars whereas we cricketers get TADA of only 100 Dollars. I always say that the salary of our players is way below par given the level at which we play.
We sometimes hear that there should be pay cuts for losing. But I think the salary needs to be increased. Because that's when players will show more dedication.
Why do these players not want to play Test cricket? There is not enough money. They have to travel by bus, they aren't even given plane tickets. They have to play during the monsoon. There are gaps of only a couple of days between matches. That's why players don't want to play if they have niggles. Because that will risk his participation in BPL and DPL where he gets more money.
After the players' movement, the salaries of 5-6 senior cricketers only increased. But the junior players at the club level are still there where they were then.
TBS: The way a senior player and the most successful ODI captain was dropped because of performance. Does that set a good standard?
Mashrafe: That I was dropped is justified. The board had to take a decision after the way I performed in the World Cup. But you have to remember that I was the highest wicket-taker in the previous three series before the World Cup. Writing off someone after a single bad tournament is possible only in Bangladesh. Mahela Jayawardene played horribly in the 2003 World Cup. Was he dropped? There are so many examples. But the process wasn't right. One moment you're saying that I will be given a nice farewell, the next moment you're dropping me. That's not the right way.
TBS: Let's talk about coaching a bit. How good a decision was it to make someone head coach who came here to be the coach of the Academy team? Did the board seek your opinion?
Mashrafe: You can talk about Chandika Hathurusingha, Dave Whatmore, Jamie Siddons- but Steve Rhodes was more successful. He was taking the team in the right direction. If you see the records, there was no massive failure. Yes, there were a few incidents. One such incident which was highlighted was that he gave us a three-day leave in Birmingham. At that time, India and New Zealand were due to play a match. So you couldn't simply go there and practice. You had to arrange a separate practice ground. And this, not his job. Why didn't the management take any initiative? Actually, the reason was that we couldn't qualify for the semis.
In my opinion, sacking Rhodes after the World Cup and then quickly appoint another coach after being constantly pressurised by media and mass people - both were wrong decisions. It was really unprofessional of the board to bring the coach to Bangladesh and then sack him.
Did we not qualify for the semis only because of my performance? Wasn't fielding a reason? Didn't we lose matches because of fielding? I'm not taking any name but fielding was definitely a reason. So why is the fielding coach still with the team? You could've only dropped me. You can sack the head coach for bad performance but retain the fielding coach despite such a poor display. Now, this is what you call a double standard.
Then what did they do? They made someone the head coach whose aim was to become the head coach of the Academy team. What are the results? A T20I win against India. But now that he's with the team, he needs to be given chances. I hope he isn't sacked because of media pressure or because someone like Mashrafe said something.
A lot of Indian cricketers and mass people were in favour of Anil Kumble. But maybe Virat Kohli and the board were convinced that Ravi Shastri was the man. The media was and still is after Shastri. But he has taken the team to new heights. So the board has to take the decision. They must not decide anything based on public opinion.
TBS: The board officials, members are involved in such decisions. Are their contributions being evaluated? If the decisions are wrong, don't they have to take responsibility?
Mashrafe: Yes absolutely. If the grounds are in a sorry state, the person who is in the grounds committee needs to be held responsible. The same goes for other departments. In my opinion, only the game development department is getting its job done appropriately. (Khaled Mahmud) Sujon bhai is its director. But I see that he is the most hated person. He had a huge contribution in arranging the 20-over tournament under the bio-bubble successfully. Before that, he took the initiative to arrange the 50-over tournament. For him, the Under-19 team won the World Cup. But no one seems to be ready to recognise that.
But why is he abused by people? Who are the people who are deliberately passing negative information about him to the media and making him a villain? I am not his relative. In fact, I was sad as he didn't say anything when Hathurusingha wanted to drop me. It's because he is working sincerely for Bangladesh cricket. The players can rely on him no matter what happens. He might have made few mistakes but he is the only person who works sincerely and he has brought results. You cannot question him after the World Cup win.
TBS: It is said that Russell Domingo doesn't have a specific plan going into a match. What do you have to say about that?
Mashrafe: He was sacked in South Africa, right? He is playing Soumya (Sarkar) at seven, dropping Shakib (Al Hasan) to four to play (Najmul Hossain) Shanto at three. It's absolutely fine to back a young player. But why are you playing Soumya at seven because you want to play Shanto? Why don't you drop Soumya? That cannot be a plan. You can bring Soumya at three if Shanto fails. This is not proper man-management.
When a foreign coach takes over, we give him maximum acceptance. But it doesn't happen to a local coach. Sujon Bhai, as a coach, lost an away series against Sri Lanka. Is there any difference now? We are losing anyway. We have lost two Tests against a depleted team on pitches that favoured us. But our coach is enjoying maximum facilities whereas our local coaches are finding it difficult to survive despite sweating it out like a farmer in the fields.
TBS: Shakib Al Hasan has criticised a few board members. What's your take on that? And how logical is his decision to skip Test matches and play the IPL for T20 World Cup preparation?
Mashrafe: First of all, Test cricket is Test cricket. And playing for the country is more important than IPL, CPL, you name it. But the fact is that Shakib sought BCB's permission. BCB granted him the NOC and then said that Shakib doesn't want to play Tests. They could've said that if they didn't give him the NOC and still Shakib wanted to play the IPL. It didn't happen. Shakib also spoke about giving an opportunity to a new player. I like this idea since Test cricket is dying in Bangladesh.
If series are arranged during IPL, Shakib and Mustafizur (Rahman) have to face losses. You can always find a way. You see, the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad never played the IPL. Aren't they good enough? Of course, they are. But they don't come to play the IPL because the ECB looks after them well. If BCB looks after Shakib and Mustafiz that way, then these things won't happen. That's why I always tell them to increase salaries. We have to look at examples. Look at England and how they changed their way of playing after they lost to us. Were the players reprimanded? No. There must have been some initiatives. The best decision was to retain Eoin Morgan as captain. Bangladesh could never have imagined so.
TBS: It was said by someone from the board that you were being paid for no reason. Then you opted yourself out of the central contract. What sort of impact does it have on other players?
Mashrafe: I had to keep my mouth shut because of the code of conduct for twenty years. But I alone cannot change anything. Everyone has to come forward. It will take me a full year to describe what I've seen in the last 20 years.
TBS: You couldn't play the 2011 World Cup despite having a positive certificate from the doctor. At that time Shakib was the captain. Rumours were there that he was also involved in the decision of leaving you out. Can you explain what happened?
Mashrafe: As far as I know, (AHM Mustafa) Kamal was in favour of me. I had already played for 11 years. So I was a senior player. I went to the ground and what happened there still embarrasses me. I wouldn't have gone there had I knew that I would be dropped.
Dr David Young sent an e-mail to physio Mike Henry where he wrote that my ligament wasn't torn yet and the decision was absolutely mine whether I wanted to risk it or not. Henry conveyed the message to the selectors- chief selector Rafiqul (Alam) Bhai and second selector Akram (Khan) Bhai. Akram Bhai didn't receive the full e-mail. Now am I responsible for this? How could they decide without even reading the full e-mail?
I don't think the captain had that much influence at that time. I had seen how everything functioned when I was made captain in 2009.
I will always respect Faruq (Ahmed) because of his gutsiness. He had the guts to go against everyone and pick Mushfiq ahead of (Khaled Mashud) Pilot Bhai in the 2007 World Cup. He explained the reason appropriately. But when he saw that he wasn't being able to work freely, he stepped down. I was the captain then and I saw it all.
TBS: Are you saying all these because Shakib opened up?
Mashrafe: No, not at all. Actually, my interview was taken in the morning and Shakib's live interview was aired in the evening. Actually, they came to talk about the 'Mujib 100'. But then they asked me a few questions and I opened up.