Mashrafee near to another returnStaff Correspondent
After a long lay-off pace bowler Mashrafee bin Murtaza is set to make a return to cricket with a three-day practice match in Khulna ahead of the home series against New Zealand.
Mashrafee has been picked for Bangladesh Red who will face Mushfiqur Rahim-led Bangladesh Green at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium from September 3.
The paceman is without any cricket since the Bangladesh Premier League final on February 19 having sustained an injury on his heel that eventually ruled him out for the Tigers’ Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe tour.
Selectors will keep a close eye on Mashrafee in the match, his first in red ball for many days, though his return to Test cricket is still a distant hope, said coach Shane Jurgensen
Mashrafee did not play any Test match since his ill-fated West Indies tour in 2009 when he picked up a career threatening knee injury two-and-a-half days after he had made his debut as captain.
After lot of twists and turns in his injury-plagued career Mashrafee was expected to make a comeback in Test earlier this year only for the injury to delay again.
Selectors wanted to give him a go for A team’s recent tour of England, but at the insistence of the physicians they decided to wait for a few more days.
Mashrafee insisted physically he is fit more than ever now, having already lost few kilograms of weight, but it still remained to be seen how he fares in match-condition.
‘It is very difficult to comment whether I will be making a comeback [with the upcoming New Zealand series] but I am trying by working hard towards it,’ Mashrafee told reporters at the Sahara-BCB National Academy.
‘It is certainly not a decision of mine alone. There is a coach, a captain and selectors involved with it and we all have to talk about it,’ said Mashrafee, who will play for Mohammedan Sporting Club in the Dhaka Premier League that begins on September 10.
‘Fitness-wise I am quite well but now all I require is playing matches as that would help me improve my skills,’ said Mashrafee. ‘I am not thinking anything beyond what I am supposed to do at the moment.’
Coach Shane Jurgenson looked to be hugely relieved with the return of Mashrafee, more so after the other pace bowlers struggled to perform with the Bangladesh A team in England.
‘Mashrafee is looking good and confident,’ said Jurgensen. ‘We would all love to include him in Test cricket and I am sure all the Bangladeshis would like it,’ he said.
‘[But] at the moment it is really important for him to concentrate on ODI and Twenty20. But let’s see how he plays in the three-day game,’ added the Australian.
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