Salute to Hathu, but credit is ours: Mashrafee

Bangladesh national cricket team’s Team Director Khaled Mahmud (L) shares a light moment with one-day international captain Mashrafee bin Murtaza during a training session at Mirpur on Sunday. — Sourav Losker

Bangladesh one-day international skipper Mashrafee bin Murtaza acknowledged on Sunday that they are now more relaxed in the dressing room than the recent past when former Sri Lankan opener Chandika Hathurusinghe coached them.
Hathurusinghe maintained a tight rule in the dressing room during his three-and-a-half-year stint, hardly allowing the cricketers to express themselves, which allegedly had created a suffocating situation for them.
The situation turned so difficult for the players to speak their mind that the Bangladesh Cricket Board had to include national team manager last year in the selection committee to carry their message to BCB high-ups.
With Hathurusinghe leaving the side now, Mashrafee said they are not feeling the pressure that often troubled them in the recent past.
‘The dressing room is mostly relaxed. We don’t have the pressure that we felt in the past.’ I don’t want the players to be too relaxed though,’ Mashrafee said in his press conference on Sunday.
Bangladesh will play their first match under new Team Director Khaled Mahmud when they will face Zimbabwe in the opening match of tri-nation one-day international tournament in Mirpur today.
It will be Bangladesh’s first ODI in more than a year at home, where they were almost an invincible side during the period of Hathurusinghe.
A lot of credit for their transformation went to the Sri Lankan coach, who took over the charge at a time when Bangladesh were revolving in a circle of defeat.
Hathurusinghe helped them change the defeatist attitude and helped them get some remarkable wins in all formats as they played in the World Cup quarter-finals and in the ICC Champions Trophy semi-finals for first time during the period.
They also recorded their first ever series win over Pakistan, India and South Africa under Hathurusinghe’s guidance apart from posting their maiden Test win over England, Sri Lanka and Australia.
Mashrafee hailed Hathurusinghe’s effort but said some credit should also go to the players, who executed his plan in the field.
‘Our dressing room has a large heart,’ said Mashrafee. ‘On behalf of the Bangladesh players, I salute Hathurusinghe. We got success playing under him. I have no problem in giving him credit but we did execute it in the 22 yards.
‘The coach didn’t have to do anything special to Tamim [Iqbal], Mushfiq [Rahim], Sakib [al Hasan] or Mustafizur [Rahman]. They did it themselves, and ultimately took on the pressure.
‘When Mahmudullah had made his hundred against New Zealand [in the ICC Champions Trophy] I don’t think anyone had to guide him through that innings. He performed according to his ability,’ Mashrafee said.
Mashrafee said that the players would do everything they can to back up their new coaching staff to get similar result in the upcoming matches.
‘We backed the coach one hundred per cent, and we will keep backing the current coaching staff – Richard Halsall, Sujon Chacha [Mahmud]. They are going to do the same, with full professionalism. But good luck to Hathu. We are more concerned about ourselves right now,’ he added.


Source: New Age.


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