7.4 Mashrafe Mortaza to Dravid, OUT:
Out!!!. comprehensively beaten by the swing, this time a delivery that jags
in and Dravid misread the delivery and shoulders arms, The delivery jags back
in and uproots the stumps behind him. Good bowling by Mortaza this!
Mashrafee celebrates after clean bowling Dravid
The vigil is over. Mashrafee Mortuza is back and has promptly reopened his
old account with the wicket of Rahul Dravid. Throughout the course of the year
we held our breath as each piece of news emerged detailing the pacer?s
progress of rehabilitation. From the most pessimistic prognosis of his early
departure from cricket and to the more bombastic prediction that he is our next
Courtney Walsh, it is none other than Masri, who attracts such persistent chatter
amongst Banglacricket fans. Ever since I had the privilege of witnessing his
debut spell at BNS back in 2001, I have counted myself as part of the latter
group of optimistic fans.
Yesterday, not only did Masri bowl to line and length but also he did it with
sufficient pace to trouble all the Indian batsmen. Above all it was his fresh
optimism that rubbed off on the team. And it was not an overstatement on the
part of commentators to say that when Masrafee bowls the team feels upbeat and
the rest of the bowlers feel pumped up. This is also what great pace bowlers
possess. An extra dimension of aggression that make them part of an offensive
It is still early days to outline what the impact of his absence has been on
his bowling but after seeing him in action yesterday it was reassuring to see
that the 22 overs that he bowled were tight and executed with minimum stress.
Credit also should go to the coach and captain for keeping a reasonable plan
of the sequence and numbers of overs he had to bowl.
Although he has emerged from a litany of unfortunate injury mishaps he could
come out a more mature young man. And perhaps a more potent force as his yearlong
absence has sharply focused his career. He also resurfaces at a time the tigers
are more desperate. However, for Masri it is the improved fitness coaching environment
and the impact of sports science in Bangladesh cricket that will slowly but
surely have an influence in how he is managed.
We fans at Banglacricket have our list full of worries about the future of
the ?Team?. But one of the constant alarm bells that without fail
rings is the so-called "lack of pacers" in Bangladesh. So when Masri
stepped into the picture we sighed a breath of relief that here at last we had
a decent pacer with the height and determination to change history. Despite
all the doomsday tales of wrong pitches, diet and the eternal cry of the wrong
physique, the nation proved its detractors wrong and produced Mashrafee. But
has the homework been completed?
No. For to survive in international cricket we cannot be satisfied with Mashrafee
as a one time phenomenon from Narail. Unfinished tasks remain and we can start
by training our youngsters from the very early age to inculcate the necessity
of basic fitness. Through reliable cricket schools such as BKSP and its High
Performance Unit they should be offered a better platform to launch their career
It would be simply heartening if we find another 'great' fast bowler tomorrow
but we also need to have a good look at our infrastructure and especially the
pitches. The neglect of pitches and the consequences of under par pitches on
the development of pacers are severe. It is no accident that the West Indies
has fallen back on producing great pacers. They have suffered immensely from
a lack of international standard pitches that have adversely affected their
bowling. It is a matter that our planners need to look at seriously but could
be corrected with greater use of technology and expertise that will lead to
better pitches with more bounce.
We should not forget that Masrafee, one of our finest talents, was discovered,
in a camp organized by National Sports Council (NSC). So in conjunction with
developments in Bangladesh cricket we should also continue this ?search?.
Let there be more Mashrafees and let?s hope Dudhia's words become realty:
"We know that somewhere/anywhere around the country, a lot of talent is
hidden, and our task is to find them"
The author is a moderator of banglacricket forum and goes by the nick "oracle"