Anger, disappointment, shock and despair, Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza expressed all that and yet tried his best to stay calm as he addressed a media conference that stretched for an hour on Sunday. Bangladesh, the weakest in the Super 10 Group 2, are facing Australia here on Monday, but for the second ICC tournament in a row, it was about the ‘injustice’ done to his side that was the focus.
The Bangladesh camp is in disarray after Saturday’s announcement by the ICC that pace bowler Taskin Ahmed and left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny have been suspended for illegal action following a test at the ICC’s Chennai facility. Both were reported after the March 9 win over Netherlands in Dharamsala.
They were then tested in Chennai. While there is disquiet in the camp that the testing disrupted the team’s schedule, Bangladesh insist there is nothing wrong with Taskin’s action.
“Taskin was reported after a match. The tests were done accordingly. We have gone through the footage – not a single delivery in that match was illegal. How can he be suspended? There were some issues during the testing, not with his full-length deliveries but with his bouncers. But we have seen that he didn’t bowl any bouncer in that game (versus Netherlands).”
Spinners barred from bowling the doosra are still allowed to continue bowling the off-breaks.
Bangladesh have made rapid strides in the limited-overs game at home, and defeated India during last year’s limited-overs series. They reached the Asia Cup final against India and have had a taxing schedule as the World T20 qualifiers began two days after the continental event.
Mashrafe took questions in English and then in Bengali from a big contingent of Bangladesh journalists. Mashrafe said the suspensions meant Mustafizur Rahman, recovering from a side strain, will have to play even if he is only “20 per cent fit” against Australia on Monday.
“This now depends on the BCB and the ICC. All we want is for justice to be done to our boys. We want to say that there is nothing wrong with Taskin’s action. The board has to take that up. We can’t do anything without the board. It has to come from the board,” he said.
All-rounder Shuvagata Hom and left-arm spinner Saqlain Sajib, who is yet to play for Bangladesh, have been called up as replacements. “We still don’t know whether they can play. They haven’t slept all night, so they have to sleep all day today. We have to make our plan and then decide,” Murtaza said.
The ICC statement said the majority of Arafat’s deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of elbow flex allowed “while not all of Taskin’s deliveries were legal.” Taskin --- the 20-year-old regularly clocks around 140 kph --- has come on as an opening bowler after Mustafizur suffered a side strain during the Asia Cup.
In the 2015 World Cup, Bangladesh erupted in fury after the delivery off which Rohit Sharma was caught early in his innings in the quarterfinal --- he scored a match-winning century --- was ruled a waist-high ‘no ball’ with a senior cricket official even suggesting it was due to the influence India had in world cricket.
“Taskin has been outstanding in the last eight matches --- has been outstanding. We has been outstanding all over the world. His economy is less than 6. It is a big blow. Sunny has been bowling well in the qualifiers and in the last match as well. It is a big shock.”
“The best we can do is make a statement on the field. I want us to perform well tomorrow. But the question remains … whether we are happy with what’s happened and what we are feeling. And there is a system. We can’t work outside the system. Our minds are in one place but we will have to go and play elsewhere.”