Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Being Mashrafee Mortaza

G. M. Bashar
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!