Mashrafe Mortaza, Bangladesh's most successful skipper in the limited-overs format, had retired from T20Is back in 2017. Since then, he has only played ODIs and speculations regarding his retirement from the 50-over format.
The speculations increased after Mashrafe only managed to pick one wicket from eight matches in the 2019 Cricket World Cup and there have been questions if he will retire from the field or not.
Mashrafe himself has not put out any specific date on his retirementand when questioned about the criticisms around his retirement and if he was holding any grudge regarding this matter, Mashrafe said that he is not carrying any grudge and added that he was enjoying playing and will enjoy going ahead.
"No, I don't think I am holding any grudge. When I retired from T20, I told the media about a lot of reasons behind it. You, from your point, can tell me about retiring, everybody has already retired me, maybe I am also at that point of my career. I am just enjoying what I am playing. I have not taken the decision of whether I will retire from the field or not. If the situation is like that or the board thinks so, I will think about that (retirement). Nobody starts at the national team, I am back there now, I am playing BPL, will play Dhaka League ahead and enjoy. It's not that that you are a player only if you represent the national side. I don't give myself that much priority that everyone will come with flowers and bid me goodbye from the field. I am happy how I am, I am enjoying, the national team is a long shot," the Dhaka Platoon skipper said.
Mashrafe further added that he will have to selected at the first place and said that he from his position would not have selected himself on the basis of his own recent performances.
"I have to be selected first. To be honest, after getting one wicket in eight matches at the World Cup, I wouldn't have got into the side in my opinion. If the selectors think I am good enough, I will try my best. But after getting one wicket in eight matches, how can I say that I will get into the national side? If it was someone else instead of me, he would've been dropped a lot earlier," the 36-year old said.
There were rumours that an ODI series would be arranged by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) with Zimbabwe at Dhaka to bid Mashrafe farewell. Mashrafe, when asked about if he would play if the selectors wanted him to play, said that he was playing at the moment and also, he had agreed to play against Zimbabwe if that series had happened.
"What am I doing now? When I was asked about the Zimbabwe series, I said that I will play. I can say from my side that I want to play. It is not such that I have to play in the national team, others who are playing in my place are doing well. If the board wants me to play, I will obviously play. I am not joking around, I am playing right now. Those who are in charge of selection will also consider everything including my performance," Mashrafe said.
Bangladesh played a three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka at the island nation just after the World Cup, where the Tigers were clean swept. Neither Mashrafe nor Shakib Al Hasan played in that series and when questioned if he could have played in that series, Mashrafe said that he could have returned there but did not and he did not have any discussion with the selectors and added that he could not say anything from his side.
"Maybe I had an opportunity to return in the Sri Lanka series. Shakib wasn't there so with everything in consideration, there was a chance. But I have not been in any sort of cricket since then. I don't know what the selectors are thinking, I didn't discuss with them. There have been discussions with other players, but not with me. So how can I tell anything from my side? I am thinking as much as I can as a player, I am playing and enjoying the game. If ODIs come up and I am given the opportunity, I will play. Because at the end of the day, cricket is everything for me. I have always said that. I play cricket with all my heart and as long as I will play, I will play with all my heart. What else would happen is the decision of the board. If they ask me then I will answer," Mashrafe said.
Bangladesh is likely to have an ODI series against Zimbabwe at home later this year and this will be Bangladesh's first ODI action at home since December 2018, when the Tigers had faced West Indies at their own backyard. That was also Mashrafe's last bout in red and green at home as the veteran seamer only plays the 50-over format.