Bangladesh's ODI skipper, Mashrafe Mortaza who is all set to lead his side against Windies in the three ODI matches is very confident of beating the home team. In an exclusive interview with the Cricbuzz, Bangladeshi skipper has come out and stated that they need to be mentally strong ahead of ODI matches against Windies starting July 22.
While speaking to the Cricbuzz, Mashrafe Mortaza opened up to various aspects of the game that can help Bangladesh win against Windies in the limited overs game. When asked about how difficult was it for him to join the ODI squad after the situation at home, Mortaza added "It was difficult but at the same time, I was always positive regarding the entire affair. It's true that my wife is ill but at the same time, I was always optimistic of joining the squad. The only thing is that I could not travel with the rest of the team as her injection course was supposed to end on July 15. I informed Sumon bhai [Habibul Bashar] about my inability to leave before July 15 and he said that even if I can make it after that it will be fine so that made it easy for me. Still leaving a sick wife is not easy but on the same note, I must say that it is not the first time I am going abroad when all is not well as far as her health is concerned. So I am used to handling such situations. The only good thing is that I can play the practice match because it has been long since I participated in any kind of competitive cricket.
Mashrafe Mortaza even added what comes to his mind when it comes to touring West Indies as many believe he could not reach the pinnacle of his potential due to the injury that he sustained in 2009 to which he said "It's true but there is no point grumbling over it. Neither am I unhappy nor am I afraid regarding the entire episode. The most important thing is that I can accept reality no matter how painful and look forward. I went there with a lot of expectation in 2009 but it just did not happen as I got injured. So it is useless going through those memories but it is not something that you can erase from your mind".
Mortaza even talked about his role as a captain of the team if his team is losing every match, he added "At this level, no one goes down the park without any preparation. I think they are trying their best but it is just not clicking. It is quite natural when a team loses the morale goes down and I am quite accustomed to that situation. My primary job will be to boost them up mentally because I think it is how we turn around mentally that will determine the outcome of the ODI series. I don't believe that we don't have the skill set to beat West Indies but to make that happen, we need to be mentally stronger. I think we need to be positive. If the surface suggests it will produce runs then we must go after it because we cannot move forward by holding on to the disappointing result in the Test matches. We must have high expectations about ourselves even if our fans don't have it on equal measure due to our recent performance. If we need to score over 300 runs we might as well go for it and make sure we are prepared to attempt it in the proper manner. There is no point in playing cricket with a negative mindset. Even if we fail we must make sure we are trying the right process".
Mortaza even opined his views on the new blood in the ODI squad will play a big role in the West Indies as they were not in the dressing room during the Test series to which he said "It is not like that. What I mean to say is that as they did not have to experience the debacle so closely and they will have something new to offer going with a blank headspace. It is true that when you lose, confidence goes low. And for the members of the ODI squad who joined later, certainly, that is not the case. At the same time, they will try to prove a point and make sure their presence is felt. That will force us to think about them on a long-term basis".
While noting down his World Cup preparations, the right-arm seamer told "Look, we have got 12 months before the World Cup so you have to get ready for it from now onwards. There are certain spots that need to be filled and we must take everything into consideration before making our moves. There is a new coach in place and he will certainly have a huge impact as he will see the players from close quarters. I think the team is more or less settled, the fielding coach has arrived and we are hoping the batting coach will be with us in short time. There are others as well in the coaching set-up. In this aspect, it is more or less settled. You have to carry the same team that you feel will represent us in the World Cup for five to six months. It is time we also have a close look at the bigger picture. You must give them the time and opportunity so that they can look settled before the World Cup. So I think it is the perfect time to prepare for the World Cup. But at the same time, we just cannot be one-dimensional and keep Twenty20 and Test cricket down the priority list".
While concluding, he left a message for the senior players like Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah, he added "I don't think there is any scope to think as far as Shakib [Al Hasan], Tamim [Iqbal], Mushfiq [Rahim] and Mahmudullah are concerned even if they are having a bad time because they are proven performers and match-winners. We must make sure that they have that comfort zone from where they can give their best and it is the others who will need to step up to provide that platform for them".
(Inputs from Cricbuzz)