July 22, 2018

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza: I had to wrestle with myself

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza

Fighting against injury has become a part of my life. But in this BPL, I have experienced quite different things due to injury. It was strange being in the field, doing nothing but leading the team. I am not a batsman. I am a bowler but I did not bowl in matches. I felt more pressure in being just the captain on the field.

However, as the captain, I had to guide my team towards wins and we are very fortunate that we won.
I had to deal with immense mental pressure before this BPL. I was the captain in all the matches. When I lead the squad, 160 million people count on me for victory. So it is obvious to have to deal with mental pressure.

Then I got dengue. The Zimbabwe series followed. Doctors warned me about injuries as I had just recovered from dengue. I had to wrestle with myself in the beginning of BPL. Sometimes I did not feel like stepping on the field. I felt that I could not take it anymore.

Everything was going fine earlier. But then I hurt my hamstring muscles after three or four matches, forcing me to stop bowling. The major problem was that I could not exercise at the gym. When I started doing exercises I felt pain in the muscles because of the injury. Eventually I had to give up gym. And that was a loud message – I won’t be able to bowl.

I barred myself from bowling for three or four matches, but I felt better after undergoing treatments. After a hiatus, I started bowling in the match against Chittagong as Dolar Mahmud’s injury led me to bowl again without due preparation. The brighter side was that it gave my confidence a kick. I realized that I am now able to bowl for one or two overs every match. It was totally my decision to bowl in the last few matches. Our coach Salauddin or the owener of Comilla Victorians never put any pressure on me. When the chief adviser of the franchise A H M Mustafa Kamal saw me bowling in the semifinals, he called up the team manager and said, “Ask him not to bowl”. He just wanted my presence on the field, nothing else. The franchise owners were very caring about my injury, which is rare.

I thought if I bowl for at least two overs, it might help my team. Later, when I realized I am okay with short run-ups, I went for four overs. However, I avoided the full run-up as I did not want to get it worse. I stepped into the field with my cap on though I did not bowl. I did not need any painkiller injection as I was not suffering from any knee injury.
It’s been a while I have not hit the gym. This is why I often feel pain in the knee. It does not matter if I am on the field or not, I have to follow certain exercises for the rest of my life to stay fit. Right now I don’t have any matches to play, so I will travel with my family. However, I am waiting to get back to the gym. I cannot do without it.

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