More than his accurate medium pace bowling and useful pinch-hitting capabilities down the order, in the cricketing world Mashrafe Mortaza is known and regarded for his inspirational leadership qualities. He has completely changed the face of Bangladesh cricket, since taking over the captaincy of the limited-overs' side from Mushfiqur Rahim just before the 2015 World Cup. Following a brief stint of as a leader back in 2010, it was for the second time he was made the full-time captain of the national team. And under him the Tigers have now become a force to reckon with in white-ball cricket, especially in multi-team events, Bangladesh have done exceptionally well in the recent past.
Popularly known as the 'Narail Express', Mortaza is around at the international level for almost 18 years now. Back in 2001, he made his Test debut against Zimbabwe as a 17-year-old 'fast bowler' and took a four-for. In his early days, Mortaza used to generate a lot of pace and had an excellent in-swinger.
However, as he continued to enhance his reputation as an international level bowler, a series of injuries started hampering his career. Till date he has had seven surgeries on his legs, knees and ankles. But despite all these hindrances, Mortaza has kept on making one comeback after another.
Since 2009, he hasn't featured in the Test team and back in 2017, Mortaza bid farewell to international T20s as well. Currently he is only concentrating on the 50-over format and many insiders consider that the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 will be his final assignment as an international cricketer.
Despite all the breaks, he has had in his career, Mortaza has 379 international scalps (78 in Tests, 259 in ODIs, 42 in T20Is) till date. In the calendar year of 2006, the right-arm pacer was the highest wicket-taker in ODIs in the world by getting 49 wickets. Along with that, his "Man of the Match" effort of 4 for 38 during the famous victory against India in 2007 World Cup are some of the highlights of his personal career.
As a leader, under Mortaza, Bangladesh have registered maiden bilateral ODI series triumphs against India, Pakistan and South Africa. He has also led his team to the final of the Asia Cup on a couple of occasions, in 2016 and 2018 and to the semi-final of ICC Champions Trophy in 2017. And now, in the 2019 Cricket World Cup in the United Kingdom, the entire Bangladesh are hoping for beloved 'Mash' to put up one last effort for the country.
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