Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) director Khaled Mahmud has become the latest in a chorus of voices calling for Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's return to Test cricket. However, the former Bangladesh captain's entreaty was a little different as he seemed to be speaking on behalf of the current Bangladesh Test captain Shakib Al Hasan, who is now playing in the Indian Premier League for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
“Shakib thinks that it will be good for the team if Mashrafe returns [to the Test team],” Mahmud told reporters yesterday about a conversation he had with Shakib before the all-rounder left for his IPL stint. “He thinks that Mashrafe can swing the new ball and that is a very rare and valuable thing in our country.
“Shakib is of the opinion that if Mashrafe can bowl 15-20 overs per innings, it will help the team,” said Mahmud.
Mashrafe last played a Test in June 2009 on the tour of West Indies and has since been prevented from a serious run in the longer formats by a series of knee injuries. Since late 2014 however, the 34-year-old has played the ODI and T20I formats -- until he retired from the latter in April 2017 -- relatively injury free and he played the last round of the four-day Bangladesh Cricket League for champions South Zone from April 24 to 26.
On the second day of that match he said in an interview that he wanted to come back to Test cricket and that he had the ability to play in the longer version for two more years. He however qualified that statement by saying that he needed some more time in the longer version to truly know whether he was fit enough to play Tests.
Mashrafe's international cricket is currently restricted to only one format -- he captains the ODI team. BCB president Nazmul Hassan asked him to come back to T20Is during a disastrous home series against Sri Lanka earlier this year, but Mashrafe seemed not to be interested. On Friday, the BCB boss said that if the physio and the player himself thought he was fit for Tests, the BCB would welcome him back. Bangladesh's next Test assignment is on the West Indies tour in July-August.