Former captain Mashrafe Mortaza said Mahmudullah Riyadh is the most unrecognized hero in Bangladesh cricket. Saying that he would have been regarded as a batting great in international cricket if he had played higher up the order, Mashrafe said Mahmudullah is like India’s VVS Laxman in terms of stepping up to the team’s needs.
In a chat with current ODI captain Tamim Iqbal, Mashrafe said, “Mahmudullah is like VVS Laxman. He will go for days without scoring but when the team needs runs, he will stand up. If he had got the opportunity to bat at 4, he would have been a batting great in terms of statistics. Only because the team needed him to, because we did not have firepower in the lower order, he batted at 6. I have always felt bad for him but he has accepted the situation with a smile.”
On beating India in 2007 World Cup
Recounting Bangladesh’s victory against India in the 2007 World Cup, Tamim said, “You had told me 10 days before the match that you would bowl Virender Sehwag with an in-cutter. How could you have known from before?”
Mashrafe said, “Some days you have a feeling that it is your day. The dressing room was charged because of the death of Manjural Rana (a teammate who died in a traffic accident just before the World Cup). We all wanted to win the match for him.”
On Mashrafe’s success against Andre Russell
Andre Russell is a feared name for bowlers around the world, but the demolition machine from the West Indies has had a torrid time against Mashrafe.
Asked to explain his success against Russell, Mashrafe joked, “Russell has a problem with his mind. He thinks I am a pace bowler. He asked me last time why he couldn’t get runs off me. I told him my slower ball is 117 kph, my faster ball is 120 kph. You think the faster ball is 130 kph and the slower one is 105 kph. You can’t treat me like other bowlers.”
Tamim on Mashrafe’s support as captain
Saying that Tamim wants to back his players the way Mashrafe backed him, he recounted a story when Mashrafe had threatened to resign from captaincy when someone had wanted Tamim out of the team.
“One day when I had returned to the pavilion after a bad day with the bat, someone had said ‘Make sure he doesn’t play in the next match.’ You had said ‘If that happens I will resign’.”
Mashrafe replied by saying Tamim would have to similarly protect matchwinners in the current team like Soumya Sarkar, Litton Das and Mustafizur Rahman.