Press conferences involving cricketers are usually lively but good-humored. However, when Mashrafe Mortaza, captain of Bangladesh ODI team faced the media on Saturday, he got into a rather heated conversation with a mediaperson thanks to the latter's rather uncalled for question.
Set to lead the Bangladesh team in the upcoming three-match ODI series agaisnt Zimbabwe, Mortaza faced the media in the pre-series press conference. However, one overzealous journalist fumbled badly in his choice of words while questioning Mortaza about his disappointing performance in the 2019 World Cup.
This journalist asked Mortaza whether he was 'ashamed' of his poor returns in the World Cup, where the veteran pacer picked up just eight wickets and hardly troubled any batsman. Mashrafe wasn't going to take this somewhat insolent question lying down and offered a feisty reply.
Mashrafe's hard-hitting reply
"Self-respect and to be ashamed of? Do I steal on the ground? Am I a thief? I actually cannot relate things like self-respect or being ashamed with playing cricket. There are people who steal and cheat. Aren't they ashamed of what they are doing? Only I have to feel ashamed if I do not get wickets in a game? Am I a thief?" the Bangladesh skipper responded.
But he wasn't done yet. He followed up these remarks with further strong comments, taking on the questioner.
"I might not get wickets and then all of your personnel and also my fans can criticize and talk about it. But why would I have to be ashamed of it? Am I not playing for Bangladesh? Or am I playing for any other country that I must be ashamed of my performance? If I cannot perform then they can drop me — it is that simple," Mortaza stated, as per a report of India Today.
Captain under pressure
While the question from the offending journalist was indeed badly articulated, there is a valid doubt about the future of the Bangladeshi seamer. His speeds during the World Cup suggested that he wasn't at the highest level of fitness. Now, against Zimbabwe, he will have to prove to his detractors, as well as selectors that he still has the quality and skill to make a difference.
The three-match series between Bangladesh and tourists Zimbabwe starts on March 1 and follows a one-off Test between the two teams. The Test saw a dominant performance from the hosts as they thrashed the visitors by a margin of an innings and 106 runs. Debutant Nayeem Hasan starred with a five-for while Mushfiqur Rahim scored a double century.