Bangladesh One-Day International (ODI) skipper Mashrafe Mortaza is most likely to be awarded as ‘Sera Bangali’ in the sports category by the renowned Indian media group – ABP. It has been learnt that Mortaza will personally come to Kolkata to receive the award, which is to be given on July 29.
In this annual event, the ABP group honours the celebrated Bengali personalities across the border, who excel in different sectors of life. Mortaza will be the third Bangladeshi cricketer to receive this award after Habibul Bashar in 2007 and Shakib al Hasan in 2012.
The prestigious achievement is a representation of the impact which Mortaza has had a leader both on and off the field with the current Bangladesh team for the past few years. Under his leadership, Bangladesh have accomplished some tremendous achievements in white-ball cricket.
Captain Mortaza guided his team to their maiden World Cup quarter-final in 2015 and then they went on to register six back to back ODI series victories at home and qualified for the final of the Asia Cup at home, which was played in T20 format last year.
During this dream run in 50-over cricket, Mortaza’s boys outclassed top sides like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, South Africa and New Zealand. Recently they achieved their best ever ODI rankings – number six.
This strong show opened the door for a spot in the ICC Champion’s Trophy for the Tigers after 11 years and they made a serious impact in the tournament in England by reaching the semi-final from a very strong group.
The 33-year old pacer, who is currently at the twilight stage of his career, has battled through injuries since the early days of his journey as a cricketer. Mortaza does not feature in Test cricket of late and earlier this year, he announced retirement from T20 Internationals to prolong his career till the 2019 World Cup.
“I am playing international cricket for the last 16 to 17 years and with [my] head held high. I don’t want to spoil my reputation trying to continue playing for six to 12 months, even after knowing that my time is over. I can assure you that I have the knowledge and experience to understand when my time is over,” recently Mortaza mentioned while talking about the speculations about his retirement in the Bangladesh cricket fraternity.
“It took me 30 seconds to take that decision and once it was taken, there was no looking back. I went to the practice and during the nets somehow, I felt that I am not enjoying T20 cricket and that is it.
“One thing is for sure that I will be [the] first person to know that my time is over before anyone can point that out through their fingers,” he further added.
Mortaza has always been known as a symbol of dedication, hard work and determination. He is a national hero in Bangladesh. For the ABP group, he may be a ‘Sera Bangali’ this year, but for the last half a decade, Mortaza has been the ‘sera’ [Best] achiever in the nation for the 16 crore Bangladeshis.