Nothing is so infectious as an example. For the sake of Bangladesh cricket let?s hope so as Masrafee has openly said that Courtney Walsh is the fast
bowler he truly admires. If role models are still something cherished these days Masri has a few lessons he can learn from the pace legend of West
Indies. Furthermore, what better way to spend recovery time than to engage in some harmless reflection and life planning? Hopefully, he will come out
of this round of recuperation and introspection with added purpose. He is definitely missed today and the fans would like to see some semblance of
control over the number of injuries.
Two things happened in 2001. On a windy day in March 19th, 2001, Courtney Walsh took his 500th wicket, in front of a jubilant Trinidadian crowd. That
500th wicket was a testimony to a career distinguished by nothing short of self-discipline and the virtue of durability. Here was a man, many a times
in the shadow of several other great Windies pacers, who stuck to a wish to play as many overs as possible and thereby do a great service for his
country. It was not the 500 wickets but the astonishing fact that he managed to miss only 2 matches due to injury! Later on in the same year, Masrafee
Mortaza, the new pace hope of Bangladesh opened his account against Zimbabwe and removed Grant Flower. Needless to say the expectation level at the BD
camp was sky high.
Disastrously this expectation ?frenzy? led to over zeal and in turn to ?overuse? of this new find. The rest is history but living your life to please
others is a perilous trap and somewhere along the line Masri needs to take portion of the blame for his nagging predicament. The road to recovery will
have to start by following Walsh lesson number one, ?be a sustainable bowler?. If he can sort out and deal with his injuries then the wickets will
eventually come. Sports science and medicine has come a long way since Walsh embarked on his career and surely Masri can be guided with proper
management to achieve his potential.
So, Masrafee, become what you have to be and more importantly what you can be. Yes, pace bowling, with all the forces that it conjures will continue
to cause attrition. The injuries cannot be wished away. It is a work hazard. However, progress in the form of career management offers a salvation
and a safe option. A holistic approach that understands the interplay of exercise, physique type, muscle type, bowling movement together with
nutrition will come a long way to offer this young man a degree of certainty. It is this ?professionalism? that will determine the new Masri.
Walsh lesson two is patriotism. Every tale has a befitting ending and in the case of Walsh it came in style with an emotional departure from cricket
in his very own home ground, Sabina Park, on the 23rd of April 2001. Alas, but Masri is not Walsh and never promise a fish until it is caught.
Nevertheless, a befitting goal and an appropriate dream for Masri would be to bag his 300th wicket in front of a packed crowd in BNS!