‘Don’t have bowlers capable enough to replace Mash’

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A lot has been made of Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s performances with the ball throughout this World Cup. After Bangladesh’s 28-run defeat against India, that knocked them out of the tournament, coach Steve Rhodes spoke eloquently on criticism of Mashrafe the bowler.

“The captain has said he would love to continue for a bit more time. So do you think that lessens the chance of including at least one impact bowler in the side, preferably a young bowler, looking at the future?”, Rhodes was asked.

“That really is questions for the board and questions for Mash to answer. I can’t really answer that,” Rhodes said in a straight forward manner.

“We’ve also got to have a bowler good enough, capable enough to actually replace Mash. Everybody forgets that. We haven’t got too many of the taller, quicker bowlers, which is what we’re trying to get into test matches. As soon as we find them and as soon as they’re starting to do well, I’m sure that we’ll be wanting to get them in the team,” he added.

He was not giving away much on his own future when asked if ‘post-World Cup, a fresh start needs to be made’ but nonetheless left doubts regarding his continuation in the head coach role. “It’s a very difficult question for me to answer, and I don’t really want to get involved in that, if that’s okay,” he replied.

He was once again asked a difficult question regarding Mashrafe’s performance and whether it was disappointing to see the captain not performing to his previous levels.

“Well, I’m sure Mash would be a little disappointed with that first over, but I actually thought it was a very brave decision to do to check himself off. Sometimes as a captain, when somebody has a bad over, it’s still a brave decision to take them off. To take yourself off is even braver, I felt, especially as the first over of the game.

“But he did come back, and he did come back better. So he did show that he was clawing his way back. Mash is a very proud person, and I’m sure Mash will look at his performances so far and wish they were a little bit better, but having said that — and it’s important that you do quote this second part as well — is that he’s tried his hardest all the way through. The one thing about Mash is that he tries every single ball. He doesn’t know any other way.

“He’s had seven knee operations, and he’s had a fantastic, wonderful career of over 200 ODIs, and he has not stopped trying throughout all of those ODIs, I know that,” he concluded.

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