Bangladesh's most successful captain in ODI cricket Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, presently a parliamentarian, revealed his three most memorable wins with the Tigers, among other revelations, as he became old comrade Tamim Iqbal's latest guest for an online interview broadcast on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
The initiative by Tamim, set to take over as ODI captain, prompted by the lockdown situation amid the coronavirus pandemic, started on Saturday night with Mushfiqur Rahim and then featured Mahmudullah Riyad on Sunday. More styled as an adda or candid but also deep conversation between old teammates, it has been wildly successful so far, and drew fans like a live cricket game.
On Monday, the mutual respect as well as camaraderie between Tamim and Mashrafe was apparent throughout. Mashrafe greeted Tamim as "Captain saheb", in anticipation of his upcoming assignment.
"There is only one captain in Bangladesh cricket," Tamim promptly responded, before adding: "You will always be my captain." Mashrafe went on to reveal how he was actually friends with Tamiom's older brother, ex-national cricketer Nafis Iqbal, and on that pretext the first time he saw Tamim at their Chittagong house, the younger brother was playing with toy cars, not bat and ball.
In the course of the conversation, it came out that towards the end of his career, Mashrafe stopped buying cricket bats anymore, finding it more convenient to take one or two from Tamim's collection. The chemistry between them was undeniable, indeed, as it has been with all three guests and Tamim.
"We have won 50 ODIs under your captaincy which is a tremendous achievement. We want to know which three are the most memorable to you?" Tamim asked Mashrafe at one point, clearly a prepared question.
Mashrafe said the World Cup win against England at Adelaide under lights in 2015 is the most memorable win to him - as it is probably for an entire generation of Tigers fans and Bangladeshis - which guided the Tigers to the World Cup Quarterfinals for the first time in their history.
The second most memorable win came against New Zealand in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in Cardiff, Wales in which Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah Riyad hit centuries to craft an improbable win from a very difficult position. The win took the Tigers to the Semifinals of the event, itself a first.
As the third most memorable win, Mashrafe mentioned the second match of Bangladesh's three-match ODI series at home against England in 2016, in which Bangladesh won by 34 runs to keep the series alive on the strength of a solid all-round performance from the skipper. He was awarded man of the match for his 44 runs and 4-wicket haul.
In the Live session, Mashrafe said that Tamim has all the capabilities to lead the team to a good place in world cricket. He stated many stories where Tamim proved his quality of leadership.
"When we tour abroad, Tamim takes the responsibility to arrange our dinners outside the team hotel. He selects the restaurants, he calls taxis. We just follow him along the way. This is what Tamim can do as a leader. I always believe he has the ability to lead the Bangladesh team as well. But Tamim used to love to consider himself as a good vice-captain. It's good that he now believes that he can lead the Tigers. I'm so happy to see him as the captain of Bangladesh ODI team," Mashrafe said in the Facebook Live which was seen by about 1 lakh viewers.
Tamim had started out with Instagram Live sessions for the earlier two episodes (Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad). But for Mashrafe, possibly having received the feedback on the first two shows, it was through Facebook as most Bangladesh fans use Facebook. It resulted in a great viewership.
Tamim said he is planning to bring pace-bowling-duo Taskin Ahmed and Rubel Hossain as his next guests on Live in the coming days. The new Bangladesh ODI captain also said he is planning to bring some of Bangladesh's first-generation international cricketers on Live as well, so that the fans can learn many untold stories from the country's early cricketing days.
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