Mashrafe hints at retirement, 2016 could be last playing year

Mirpur :Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza today hinted that he may end his international career after the 2016 season with the ICC World T20 in all likelihood his last global event.

Asked if he has set any targets like playing the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy or 2018 World T20, Mashrafe said that he would not like to stick around for that long.

“I don’t think so. One thing is for sure, I will not be playing for a long time. By the grace of Almighty, if I am fit, then I intend to play this whole 2016. After that I don’t think there is any big global event for a long time,” 32-year-old Mashrafe told PTI during an interaction after a practice session at Sher-e-Bangla Stadium.

For him a career decision, big or small has always been instinctive.

“But from a very young age, I have been an instinctive person. I have never ever treaded the usual fixed path. I live for the moment. Yes, whenever I take the big decision, my teammates will know about it before my family as it is a cricketing decision. When I take any decision, will make sure that it is convenient for everyone,” the skipper said.

Mashrafe is the only player in this team, who has played more than 15 years of international cricket and that is the reason why like a big brother, he shares a fine rapport with the next batch of seniors like Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim.

“I guess the biggest reason is that I have started 15 years back. Some of the seniors like Tamim, Shakib and Mushfiqur only came into the side when I was already in the middle phase of my career. My biggest plus point is that I share a fine relationship with everyone. The revival of Bangladesh cricket happened as now players are empowered more.

“They have a sense of responsibility in them. Even if they fail 10 matches in trot but the intent is to win for Bangladesh, we stick with that player” a proud Mashrafe said.

As a senior statesman, Mashrafe wants the Bangladeshi fans not to treat this game as a “war” even though the emotional quotient runs high.

“Actually emotion is something which is difficult to check but a cricket match is not war for sure. One should know after match, all the players stay in same hotel, chat with each other, exchange pleasantries. So I personally don’t like equating cricket with war.

In Indian team, Yuvraj is a close friend, I share good rapport with Harbhajan,” Mashrafe concluded.