Just like Cricketers all around the World, Bangladeshi Cricketers, namely Tamim Iqbal, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad have also taken to social media platforms to chat with each other and keep their fans engaged and entertained with funny, interesting anecdotes, inspirational stories and words of wisdom.
Recently, in a live session with wicketkeeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal recalled the incident of how he walked out to bat with a broken hand, helping Rahim score his hundred and post a competitive total for Bangladesh.
Rahim asked, “I know that you have talked about this several times before, but, just wanting to listen to this one time, the Asia Cup game we won against Sri Lanka in Dubai, back in 2018, the one in which you got injured. I want to know what happened because I wasn’t there, I was at the crease at that time. What was the thinking behind you returning from the hospital to walk back out to bat, because I know that Mashrafe bhaai, Shakib, everyone encouraged you to do so, but what was your mindset? Because it was not like we were playing a semi final or a final, so why did you take such a big risk?”
Tamim then went on to narrate whatever happened during that course of time, as he said, “So, let me talk about the whole situation. While I was on my way to the hospital (after the injury), I was continuously checking the score on my mobile. We lost two or three quick wickets initially, and then you and Mithun Ali had a good partnership. This was the scenario before I went in to the doctor’s chamber. While on my way back to the Cricket ground, there was another batting collapse, wasn’t there?(Rahim nodded in agreement) so when I returned to the dressing room, I saw that you, somehow have managed to stay in the middle.”
“So, meanwhile, we were having a light hearted chat in the dressing room when Mashrafe bhaai told me, “Hey, go back out there to bat!” I thought he was joking at first, our physio thought so too, as he exclaimed, “Are you crazy?” So, while we were having this discussion, I saw that you had started taking the attack to the opposition, and gradually reaching your hundred. The discussion that we were having started to get serious, and ultimately, we came to an understanding that, ‘Ok, if Mushfiqur stays on strike, I’ll walk out to bat. Because the doctor had forbidden me from even running with that fractured hand of mine.’ I agreed to that. But unfortunately, in the fourth or fifth ball of the over, Rubel (Mustafizur, Rahim corrected) got run out.”
“My dear friend, once in all of our lives, there is a bit of madness that operates within us for a few seconds. In those few seconds, you have no control over your actions and thoughts yourself. That was what happened to me for about 5 seconds. I picked up my bat and started making my way down the stairs, when Steve Rhodes, our then coach, ran in to stop me from going out, saying, “What are you doing? This was not part of our plan!” I said, don’t worry, I’ll handle it, to which he responded by saying, “In that case, this is on you. We won’t be taking any further responsibility.” So, I managed to play that ball within this flow of madness, and fortunately for me, he bowled the easiest ball I could have faced! It would’ve been difficult for me if he bowled a yorker or anything on the stumps.”
He continued, “You know me quite well, I keep every statistic, everyone’s score in mind, that was the only instance I had no memory of, due to the pain I was suffering from! And also the way you were smashing the bowlers for fours and sixes.”
He then went on to ask Rahim as to what his mindset was, because due to those 30-40 extra runs he scored, Bangladesh went on to win the game. Rahim replied, “I didn’t quite expect you to walk back out, I did not receive any such message. I wanted to stay till the end, so that I can capitalize on the last two to three overs. Mithun and I had a chat about the same, that if we could reach 230 or more, it will give something to our bowlers to defend. Unfortunately, Mustafizur got out just as I was starting to accelerate in the latter stages. That’s when I saw you walk out to bat, which gave me the confidence to take on the bowling. I felt like I am the King, I am here to rule, this was the kind of confidence that I got. Thisara Perera came on to bowl, and pitched the ball exactly where I wanted (chuckles)! That helped my case a lot. But, although the score was challenging, all credit goes to our bowlers, because there wasn’t much for them.”
Iqbal, the newly appointed captain of Bangladesh, also had a chat with Mashrafe Mortaza about how to handle leadership.
Mashrafe Mortaza dished out a few words of advice to Iqbal, asking him to trust his gut feeling when he leads Bangladesh out to the field, but also told his junior colleague to be patient when it comes to dealing with the noise around the team.
“You will hear a lot of advice as a captain, ‘do this, do that’; but as long as you listen to your heart, you will be able to sleep at night even if you lose. You will be unhappy if you had to do what other people told you. I have always believed in this.
“I won’t tell you how to do your captaincy, but you should do what your heart desires. Of course, you will have Shakib, Mushfiqur (Rahim), and (Mahamudullah) Riyad around you, but if you listen to your gut feeling, you will be more successful.”
Mashrafe, who resigned from the ODI captaincy in February, asked Tamim to back the younger players like Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das and Mustafizur Rahman to move forward.
“Bangladesh’s reality is a little different. You have to be patient. If you can make the players understand that you will do everything you can for them, they will give the best for you.”
Mashrafe continued, “As long as I am confident in your ability, it doesn’t matter what others are saying. You have match-winners in Soumya, Liton and Mustafiz, so if something is being said about them, you have to handle it.”
“Everyone had a lot to say about Shakib batting at No. 3 in the World Cup last year. Shakib was confident that he could handle the pressure. My point of view was that if he failed in two matches, nobody would be more concerned than Shakib. He knows how to handle the pressure. I backed him fully because I felt he would have maximum impact at No. 3.”
Mashrafe suggested that Tamim’s leadership role off the field would be useful for him in his new position and told him not to be reluctant about his new role.
“I never really supported your view of being reluctant about captaincy. Why wouldn’t you be the captain? You already have leadership qualities. The BCB will give you the captaincy for a long time, but that’s up to them. You have to accept it properly. You didn’t accept it properly in Sri Lanka (when he led in ODIs last July) but seeing you now, I feel you are on the right track. Bangladesh cricket will take the next step very soon.” Mashrafe said.