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Mashrafee refutes talk of tension

Atif Azam . Chittagong

Acting Bangladesh skipper Mashrafee bin Murtaza waved away suggestions of disharmony in the Tigers’ dressing room after the sudden resignation of Tamim Iqbal from the vice-captaincy post.
Tamim was in line to take over the baton of captaincy after Mushfiqur Rahim was ruled out of the two-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka as the left-handed opening batsman was Mushfiq’s deputy during the just concluded two-match Test series.
However, ever since Mashrafee was named captain and Tamim’s subsequent resignation as vice-captain led to rumours of tension existing in the hosts’ camp but Mashrafee refuted the claims.
‘I think there has not been any [negative] influence in our team,’ Mashrafee told reporters at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Tuesday.
‘Honestly speaking, I did not have to speak with [Tamim] separately because he is a professional cricketer and he has played all around the world.
‘He knows the process very well,’ said Mashrafee adding that, ‘I want to tell all the fans of Bangladesh that we have not at all been concerned regarding this issue. We are united as a team and we are completely focussed on [today’s] match.’
Mashrafee, who last captained the Tigers in a five-match one-day series against New Zealand in 2010 before being injured in the first one-dayer and ruled out of the rest of the series, said that contrary to what was speculated in the media, Tamim,  along with the other senior cricketers were helping him settle in.
‘Tamim and the other senior players are helping me and everything is happening in a professional manner,’ said Mashrafee adding that losing Mushfiq to a finger injury came as a big blow for the home side.
‘Firstly, Mushfiqur is a key player for us so losing him to injury was very bad for us,’ said the 30-year old fast bowler.
‘At the same time, at that point the captain was not announced so it was our focus that whoever is declared captain we have to play as a team.
‘When the [Bangladesh Cricket] board informed me that I would replace [Mushfiq], Tamim was there as well along with the others.
‘We are all professional cricketers and it did not affect us. It is only natural that some things will be said on the outside but there was no friction amongst us.
‘Mentally, Tamim is absolutely fine. Physically, he is still being tended to by the physio. He can speak best on this matter,’ said Mashrafee referring to Tamim’s stiff neck which made the southpaw doubtful for today’s opening T20.
Mashrafee added that the management stopped the players from speaking to the media as they wanted everyone to concentrate on the task at hand.
‘The reason behind the ban against speaking to the media was because there are young players in our side so they had to prepare and focus during practice,’ said Mashrafee.
‘There are players who do not have previous experience of international cricket so it was done so they could concentrate more on practice,’ he added.

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