Masrafe : ‘There is no alternative to playing our best’
25 February 2015, Nirapad News: Bangladesh Cricket team Captain Mashrafee Mortoza says, ‘There is no alternative of playing to our best during answering the Journalists question’s.
Q. Please inform us about Mushfiqur’s injury status and also about your observations of the MCG pitch.
Masrafe: Mushfiq is completely fine, he has batted at practice today. We’ve seen the wicket as well, it looks really good, doesn’t change much over the day. I think it is a high-scoring wicket. It is flat, and there is no grass on it. But if we can bowl well, we might even get some assistance. It would be our first time in the ground, so can’t say much from experience, but from the matches that were played here recently, we tried to acquire as much information as possible from watching, and I think we will do well tomorrow.
Q. Has the Al Amin situation brought in any mental instability to the team?
Masrafe: The past is past. And whoever has done something wrong will get the just punishment. It is his (Al Amin’s) personal matter, and I believe it should not affect the team in any way. If there is a most disciplined team I would say it is ours, and I believe none of us does or will do anything to break rules of any sort. Whoever breaches the rules will be punished. As a team we are fully focused and prepared for tomorrow’s match, and no negativity is working on our minds.
Q. Your team began 2014 with a series against Sri Lanka which yielded no victories. Facing them again in the World Cup stage, could this match be a chance for revenge?
Masrafe: We could not play to our best when we last played, but we are not thinking about that. As you know, even before the Afghanistan match, we were asked the same questions regarding revenge. I personally believe there is no point in thinking too much about the battles of the past before a particular match against any given opponent; the only focus should be on executing the plans on the field once the match begins. I know we have played badly against them last time round and that’s why we lost, and we just want to focus on the match in hand and are hopeful of doing well.
Q. Sri Lanka boasts a lot of experienced players like Sangakara and Jayawardene. Does the team have any special plans for them?
Masrafe: Even if we have plans, it would be difficult to explain them now. Of course they have some really experienced players, big players, but we have beaten them before and it’s all up to us playing to our potential. We know that we haven’t played in such grounds and conditions before, but we are confident of doing well wherever we play, it all depends on our mindset.
Q. How fit is Mushfiq? Will he be able to keep wickets tomorrow?
Masrafe: There still is 24 hours to go before the match begins, and our physio will be able to assess whether he can keep or not by tomorrow morning. But he is having no difficulty in batting, he has batted at practice today and there were no signs of pain or swelling. I hope there will be no problem, and in case he cannot keep, Bijoy (Anamul Haque) is always there.
Q. Captain, what is the team’s target for tomorrow?
Masrafe: At this moment, we are not thinking of anything else but winning. But even before that we have to execute our plans well and play to our best, and after that we will have no complains whatever the result is. But definitely if we play according to plan, we have a chance to win.
Q. In the last match against Afghanistan, the team composition gave room for more batsmen, and also there were no specialist spinners in the side. Will the team look the same tomorrow or will there be some changes?
Masrafe: It’s not possible to disclose (the plan) now. It’s not finalized either. It will be done after the final observation of the wicket. In the first match we brought in an extra batsman so be on the safe side since we have not played in such conditions before. As for the bowlers, back in Bangladesh we tend not to back our pace bowlers, but they are really good. Only after the first match people are talking about Rubel and Taskin and how fast they can bowl. The MCG wicket has also been of true bounce and teams tend to field an extra fast bowler in such conditions. Let’s see what happens tomorrow after we finalize our plan.
Q. Al Amin was in the team’s initial plans as a death bowler. Do you think you will miss his service in terms of death bowling?
Masrafe: The Al Amin chapter is over. There is no use talking about someone right now whom we cannot bring back even if we wanted. Shafiul is in now, he has played at this level and won a couple of matches for us in the previous World Cup. He is experienced at this stage which even Al Amin lacked. I believe with the given resources in hand we can do really well.
Q. Bangladesh has played Sri Lanka quite regularly, and they are known opponents now. Will this give any added advantage to preparations? And also will Malinga’s recent dip in form help the confidence of the Bangladesh batsmen?
Masrafe: Definitely Sri Lanka is a strong team with great players, and we did not have recent success against them, but we have seen each other for some years and we have beaten them in the past on several occasions as well. If we look at the career stats of their big players there might be some mental pressure creeping in, but why would we do that? It ultimately takes just one ball to get a batsman out, so we will try our best to produce those and play to our potential. As I have mentioned even before arriving to Australia, for such tournaments you need your share of luck, and till now we seem to have it. If it favors us further we are confident of defeating any team. Yes I have seen him (Malinga) bowl, and I’ve also talked to him today. His form might have dipped a bit, but it doesn’t take time for a good day to come. And we have played him in his better days and played him well. The batsmen in our lower order will have some plans to face him at the death since he is one of the best death bowlers.
Q. The World Cup produces many 300 plus team scores, and it has been a very high-scoring event so far. Do you think your batsmen are able to live up to scoring such high scores in such big grounds?
Masrafe: Actually it is a point of concern, because before we came here we never imagined wickets at Australia and New Zealand to be producing so many runs. It has now become challenging for the bowlers. Fans always want high scoring matches so it’s good for them, but obviously our batsmen are quite capable of scoring big if we get a good start. We have done it in the past, and we can do it, not necessarily scoring 300 plus but coming close to it consistently. Our bowlers can do the rest.
Q. Will the toss be a telling factor in the match?
Masrafe: The toss is the toss, we can’t think of it that way. We can focus on getting good starts in whatever we do be it batting or bowling. There is no alternative of playing to our best. The grounds and conditions here tend to remain consistent for the whole duration of the match, so the toss might not bear too much significance if the conditions remain the same. We have to play well at any cost in order to win.