If you told someone Mashrafe Mortaza would be the showstopper at the last IPL auction, people would not have believed you. But he was, and fetched $600,000 (Rs 2.7 crore). On Wednesday, there was another scarcely believable sight: Mortaza, one of Bangladesh’s biggest stars, took a cycle-rickshaw from his rented place to the Sher-e Bangla National Stadium to join the rest of his teammates at practice.
The medium-pacer was getting late and his driver was yet to turn up. So he called a rickshaw and headed for the stadium. He had just spoken to HT about his chances in the forthcoming IPL and his injury. But then, as he saw a camera coming out of the bag, he turned his face away and never looked back.
“It’s disappointing to miss a series at home, especially after being named captain. I hope to be fit before the forthcoming New Zealand series,” he said. Selector Akram Khan too sounded optimistic. “Our only problem in Tests is that we do not have another bowler of the level of Mortaza. We need to keep him in the squad for New Zealand. All our other medium-pacers are not half as penetrative as Mortaza is,”
Mortaza, who was with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the last edition of the IPL, is recovering from knee surgery. A bout of asthma has hindered rehabilitation but he remains hopeful.
“I am optimistic about my chances in the IPL this time. Sourav Ganguly knows my strengths. Coach Dav Whatmore was our coach for four years and I have a good rapport with him. With the IPL scheduled to be played in India the wickets will suit my batting. Last time I got just one chance and I am disappointed with my performance. But this time I hope to be more useful if I get a chance.”
The 26-year-old feels the IPL is the best thing that can happen to T20 cricket. “With the franchises now showing interest in Bangladesh cricketers as well, the interest is catching up fast here.”